India vs South Africa 2019: Bowlers put India in the driving seat on Day 3 of the third Test
Lack of application was the prominent reason behind South Africa's deplorable batting performance on Day 3 of the Ranchi Test. But take nothing away from the ruthless Indian bowling unit, who inflicted a complete annihilation on their feeble counterparts.
With the visitors quivering at 16/3, Zubayr Hamza and Temba Bavuma united forces to embark on a rescue operation. Unperturbed by the gravity of the situation, Hamza went about his business with a proactive mindset. The youngster punched loose balls with nonchalant elegance, while blunting the spinners with a compact defensive technique.
Ravindra Jadeja eventually provided the crucial breakthrough, disturbing Hamza's furniture with a zipping grubber. Shahbaz Nadeem then picked his maiden Test wicket, having Bavuma stumped for a composed 32.
The successive dismissals opened the floodgates. Jadeja weaved his magic over Heinrich Klaasen, castling the debutant with a jaffa. Mohammed Shami trapped Dane Piedt right in front, leaving the guest nation wobbling at 129/7.
Exacerbating South Africa's woes, Yadav lasered a bullet throw from mid-off to catch Kagiso Rabada napping for a duck. But then the frustrating ninth-wicket partnerships returned to haunt India as George Linde and Anrich Nortje settled in.
Yadav eventually terminated the valiant alliance by getting the southpaw to nick to Rohit Sharma, and Nadeem accounted for Nortje to wind up the innings.
With a substantial 335-run lead in the kitty, Virat Kohli's decision to enforce the follow-on was a no-brainer. Proving the move right, Yadav knocked over Quinton de Kock with a shooter. Shami too joined the party with a good-length ball shaping away to rattle Hamza's off-stump.
Quashing any Proteas hopes of a fightback, Shami removed Du Plessis, who was beaten by a jagging delivery crashing into his pads. Bavuma also couldn't withstand the prowess of the hostile quick, feathering an innocuous outswinger to the waiting gloves of Saha.
Meanwhile, Dean Elgar copped a nasty blow on the helmet after he took his eyes off a searing bouncer from Yadav. Though the left-hander didn't come out to bat post tea, the rampant Indian domination continued. South Africa tripped to 36/5 as Yadav pinned Klaasen dead in front.
Having exhibited commendable perseverance to notch up a resolute 27, Linde was ultimately removed by an excellent piece of groundwork from Nadeem, who moved swiftly across the turf before unleashing a direct hit at the non-striker's end.
Drafted in as a concussion substitute for Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn looked in ominous touch, steadily playing each ball on its merit. Piedt waltzed down the track to attempt a reckless hoick off Jadeja, only to witness the cherry rip the leg pole.
Rabada flexed his muscles for a couple of boundaries before slicing high a vicious off-break from Ravichandran Ashwin, accepted gladly by Jadeja at backward point.
With just a couple of wickets required to finish the proceedings, India not only stand on the brink of a magnificent victory, but also a comprehensive series whitewash.
Brief scores: India 497/9 decl. lead South Africa 162 & 132/8 f/o (Theunis de Bruyn 30*; Mohammed Shami 3-10, Umesh Yadav 2-35) by 203 runs.
Also see - Live cricket scoreModified 21 Dec 2019, 00:49 IST