Skipper Dean Elgar gets player of the match for his unbeaten half century (96*)
Brief Scores: South Africa 243-3 (D Elgar 96*, R van der Dussen 40, R Ashwin 1-26) & 229 (K Petersen 62, T Bavuma 51, S Thakur 7-61) beat India 202 (KL Rahul 50, R Ashwin 46, M Jansen 4-31, K Rabada 3-64) & 266 (A Rahane 58, C Pujara 53, L Ngidi 3-43) by 7-wickets
Player of the Match: Dean Elgar for his 28 & 96*
A very simple equation stood between the two sides: South Africa would need 122 runs to win whereas India would look for 8 more wickets. The hosts definitely had to write new records to level up the series while the tourists would aim for their maiden series win on South African soil.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma were up against a pumped up Indian pace bowling unit and who blinked first would have been the difference between the results. Time would tell who would break first.
Steady drizzle washed out first two sessions of play
There was some rain predicted throughout the day and the weather gods turned up in full measure. Early morning showers had forced the groundsmen to cover the pitch. The overcast conditions with steady drizzle had spoiled the first session of play. Although, the Wanderers drainage system is one of the best around the globe and it would not take too much time to remove water off the ground.
However, India would have loved the rain and the conditions. The grey skies would assist the pacers to get some movement. The moisture on the 22-yard strip would help the bowlers too. And if there were frequent interruptions, the South African batters would find it hard to settle. Afterall, those kind of stop-starts would never be pleasing for any batter to concentrate.
Rain, rain and more rain were the only scenes a viewer found out in Wanderers at Johannesburg. The covers remained firmly on the strip for another two hour period. However, it did stop for a moment but just when the groundstaff began the water-mopping job, the drizzle returned to waste all the hard work of the groundsmen. It was one of those odd days when one could get enough time to respect and appreciate their hard work.
The only good news was that just before the umpires called for the Tea break, the skies had brightened up with the rain easing off. All the covers in the ground were taken off and the South Africans had started their warm-ups.
After some inspections, the umpires had decided that: There would be 135 minutes of play possible for the day including an extra 30 mintues to squeeze up a result if light permitted.
So, the equation got activated again; South Africa needed 122 runs. India required 8 wickets. Cricket could find around four sessions depending on the weather forecast.
The 22-yard strip at Wanderers on Day 4
The pitch had a lot of moisture being under the covers. The floodlights had been turned on and it would move around in the first few overs. Under lights, at the Bull Ring, batting would be the hardest job. The three days had suggested that as a batter, one had to score runs rather than standing on one end.
Courageous Dean Elgar inspired South Africa to record win; South Africa level series at 1-1
Both the overnight batters, captain Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen, started off the day with sheer confidence and being proactive. KL Rahul’s captaincy did raise some eyebrows when he threw the ball in the second over of the day to Ravichandran Ashwin in overcast conditions under lights. Van der Dussen looked so brutal as the home side scored 55 runs in the first 11 overs.
At last, Mohammed Shami broke the partnership with a beautiful outswinger to send back ominous looking Rassie van der Dussen. With every boundary being hit, the Indian shoulders were dropping both in the field and the dressing room.
India didn’t rise to the occasion as the most experienced partnership of Elgar-Bavuma did the rest of the damage. Even though it was a team effort, the man who stood as the difference between the two teams on that pitch was the fighting character of Dean Elgar; he took body blows and wisely played aggressively when required.
And with a gorgeous shot to mid-wicket, the most deserving candidate, Dean Elgar, propelled his side to their first win against India at the Bull Ring, Wanderers in Johannesburg as South Africa levelled the series 1-1. The only disappointment would be that Elgar finished four short of a praiseworthy 100.
New Records Created
This would be India’s first defeat in six Tests at Wanderers. That would be South Africa’s first win in the same number of games against India.
This 4th innings chase also would sit at number three against India by any side.
What to expect in the 3rd Test at Cape Town
Both India and South Africa will move forward to Cape Town for the series decider as South Africa will look to save their unbeaten record against India while the visitors will go for their maiden series win on South African soil. The tourists can welcome a fit Virat Kohli, the leader and may look for other options to replace injured Mohammed Siraj. The Proteas should stick with the same team unless any injury occurs. But a mouth-watering next week can easily be expected.
The Cape Town Test begins on January 11.
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