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Remains of the day 

Visakhapatnam, October 6

Mohammed Shami’s lethal spell of fast bowling was beautifully complemented by Ravindra Jadeja’s guile as India recorded a resounding 203-run victory over South Africa in the opening encounter of the three-Test series. The victory consolidated India’s position in the ongoing World Test Championships with another valuable 40 points added to their kitty. India maintain their lead with 160 points.

Chasing an improbable 395-run target, South Africa were expected to put up a fight like they did in the first innings, but Shami’s fifth five-for and Jadeja’s four-wicket burst saw South Africa dismissed for 191 in 63.5 overs.

Debutant Senuran Muthusamy (49*) and Dane Piedt (56) delayed the inevitable with a fighting 91-run stand for ninth wicket after South Africa collapsed to 70/8 in the morning.

The pitch, which had played fair for the first four days with the odd ball surprising the batsman, turned tricky on Day 5. The spinners got the ball to turn sharply and the variable bounce also helped the pacers. The collapse began in the second over of the day when Ravichandran Ashwin castled Theunis de Bruyn (10) with one that turned back sharply from outside the off-stump for his record equalling 350th wicket.

After Ashwin provided the early breakthrough, Shami castled Temba Bavuma (0), Faf du Plessis (13) and Quinton de Kock (0) in two short bursts to break the backbone of South African batting. Bavuma stayed back to a delivery that kept low and jagged back in, while du Plessis offered no shot to one that cut back in, shattering the stumps. Shami got rid of de Kock with a delivery that held its line after pitching. 

3 wickets in 1 over

It became 70/6 in the 27th over when opener Aiden Markram (39) tried to play a lofted shot but did not get the required elevation, and Jadeja took a brilliant one-handed reflex catch off his own bowling. In the same over, Jadeja trapped Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj in front of the stumps off successive balls to make it 70/8.

It seemed the game would get over well before lunch but Piedt and Muthusamy took South Africa to 117/8 at the break. Piedt and Muthusamy frustrated India with their nothing-to-lose approach. Piedt’s slog-sweep over deep mid-wicket went the distance for the 36th six of the game, breaking the record for most sixers in a Test. The off-spinner played well to complete his maiden half-century in his eighth Test. The pair went on to bat for one hour after lunch, with India unable to break their stand.

Shami, who provided three quick wickets in the morning, was brought back into the attack and he struck on the very first ball, with Piedt playing on to his stumps. It was a loosener but potent enough to break the off-stump. The second Test of the three-match series will be played in Pune from October 10.

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