Cheteshwar Pujara's double whammy and other talking points as South Africa clinch Test series against India

Ashish Peter 17/01/2018
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Pujara was run-out once again as India folded meekly.

Having lost three wickets in no time in their chase of 287 on the fourth day, India folded meekly for just 151 runs on Wednesday to hand South Africa a 135-run win in the second Test at Centurion.

With this victory, Faf du Plessis’ men captured the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest against the No.1 ranked Test side in the world.

The visitors’ batting once again failed to click and one session on day five was all that was needed by the Proteas bowlers to wrap-up the Indian innings.

Here, we look at the key talking points as India’s overseas woes were exposed.

PUJARA’S DOUBLE WHAMMY

After being run-out for a golden duck in the first innings, Cheteshwar Pujara had done all the hard work in the second, surviving 47 deliveries as India lost three quick wickets on Tuesday.

However, there was another ‘brain fade’ to come from India’s number three batsman on Wednesday as he was caught short of his crease for the second time in the Test. Pujara’s attempt to steal a third run after Parthiv Patel’s glance to third-man saw the right-hander run-out despite a despairing dive.

With this, Pujara created an infamous record of becoming the first Indian batsman and 23rd overall to be run-out twice in the same Test.

In such a crucial match in the context of the series, the 29-year-old’s manner of dismissals in both innings was shambolic to say the least and a bitter pill to swallow for the visitors.

Pujara had been run-out for a golden duck in the first innings.

Pujara had been run-out for a golden duck in the first innings.

NGIDI’S DREAM DEBUT SEALS WIN

Lungi Ngidi was a somewhat surprising selection for South Africa after the injury to Dale Steyn in the first Test. The 21-year-old was handed his Test debut on his home ground at Centurion ahead of the likes of Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier and he repaid that faith with a performance to remember.

He might have only picked up one wicket in the first innings but on a deteriorating pitch with low bounce, he was literally unplayable in the final innings. Having set the visitors back with his dismissals of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul on day four, the pacer picked up four wickets on Wednesday to seal the victory and the series for the hosts.

The youngster accounted for both of India’s all-rounders in Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin before cleaning up the tail to complete a six-wicket haul in the second innings and finish with figures of 6-39. The standing ovation he received from the Proteas dressing room after completing his five-fer said everything about his dream Test bow.

Ngidi's 6-39 in the second innings blew away India's batting lineup.

Ngidi’s 6-39 in the second innings blew away India’s batting line-up.

SHARMA AND SHAMI MINI-RESISTANCE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

After being reduced to 86-7 following the dismissal of Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami got together to put up a brief fight. With the series all but over at that point and with little to lose, Sharma pressed on the throttle while Shami showed he can whack a fair few.

Boundaries flowed as Sharma looked to attack with Keshav Maharaj being at the receiving end for the most part. The pair put on 54 runs for the eighth wicket, the highest in the Indian second innings and third biggest for the visitors in the match.

While the partnership didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it gave some semblance to India’s batting which crumbled completely under the pressure on the final day.

Sharma put up a brief fightback for India but it was too late.

Sharma put on a brief fightback for India but it was too late.

SOUTH AFRICA SHOW INDIA THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FIELDING

While India’s tour has been marked with dropped catches and poor fielding, the hosts have been the polar opposite on the field.

The Proteas have always been a great fielding outfit and they showed that once again on Wednesday. AB De Villiers and Ngidi combined brilliantly near the third-man boundary to affect the run-out of Pujara. Morne Morkel then took an outstanding lunging catch at fine-leg after Parthiv Patel had skied a hook shot off Kagiso Rabada. The tall pacer showed great awareness to not let his elbows touch the ground while completing his lunge to grab the ball.

De Villiers then plucked out a fine catch himself as he scooped up the ball inches from off the ground after Rohit Sharma’s attempted hook shot took a top-edge.

Having outclassed the Indians in both batting and bowling, the South Africans showed they are miles ahead when it comes to the fielding department as well.

Morkel is mobbed by teammates after he pulled off an incredible catch.

Morkel is mobbed by team-mates after he pulled off an incredible catch.

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Lungi Ngidi shines on Test debut as South Africa hand India 135-run defeat to clinch series

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Test debutant Lungi Ngidi sensationally bowled South Africa to a series-clinching win on Wednesday, taking six for 39 as India were beaten by 135 runs on the fifth day of the second Test.

Ngidi, 21, did much of the damage as India lost seven wickets in an extended morning’s play at SuperSport Park and were bowled out for 151 after resuming at 35 for three.

Rohit Sharma provided some Indian resistance, scoring 47 before falling to a diving catch at fine leg by AB de Villiers off Kagiso Rabada.

He shared an eighth wicket partnership of 54 with Mohammed Shami (28).

Outstanding South African fielding accounted for India’s first two wickets of the morning.

Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for the second time in the match in the fourth over of the day when De Villiers chased a ball to third man and sent a pinpoint throw to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock as Pujara dived after attempting a third run.

Morne Morkel then held a sensational catch, running and diving at long leg after Parthiv Patel hooked a short ball from Kagiso Rabada.

Ngidi, who took the key wickets of Lokesh Rahul and Virat Kohli on Tuesday, followed up by having Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin caught behind by De Kock.

Sharma’s defiance ended at the scheduled lunch break but play was extended with a result in sight.

Shami fell to a mistimed pull shot against Ngidi, who finished the match by having Jasprit Bumrah caught at mid-off.

South Africa, ranked second in the International cricket Council Test rankings, won the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs.

The final Test of the three-match series will be played in Johannesburg from January 24 to 28.

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ECB confirms Ben Stokes is cleared for England selection

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The England and Wales cricket board has decided Ben Stokes should be considered for selection while he awaits trial for affray, with the all-rounder due to rejoin the team in February.

Stokes has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service over an incident in Bristol in September but, having been unavailable since his initial arrest, he is now free to resume his international career during the New Zealand leg of England’s forthcoming Twenty20 Tri-Series.

An ECB statement read: “Given the CPS decision to charge him and two others with affray, confirmation of his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial, the Board agreed that it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period.

“ECB fully respects the legal process and the player’s intention to defend himself against the charge.”

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