Fast bowler Dale Steyn's 350th Test wicket, in record time, and a prompt pursuit of a modest target saw South Africa beat India by 10 wickets on day five at Kingsmead in Durban, where a series win bade farewell to the retiring Jacques Kallis in style.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn's 350th Test match wicket, in record time, and a prompt pursuit of a modest target saw South Africa beat India by 10 wickets at Kingsmead in Durban, where a series win bade a fond farewell to the retiring Jacques Kallis.
Former Proteas cricketer Daryll Cullinan had criticised one and all for fixing focus too much on Kallis and not enough on the game. Indeed, there was a series to decider – and day five promised intense rivalry.
The Indians resumed on 68 for two, eager to make to chase a formidable lead and perhaps bowl the opposition out again – or at least force a draw. This three-fold ambition amounted to nothing, with the home side instead welcoming their first Test win in Durban since 2008.
Steyn set the proverbial cat among the pigeons early, sniping through the defence of batsman Virat Kohli with some steep bounce. Kohli was adjudged caught behind, bu the Decision Review System would have differed – were it in use for this series.
The pace ace struck again, castling the in-form Cheteshwar Pujara and later delivering a slew of verbal shtick to Rohit Sharma. Seamer Vernon Philander then took his cue to capitalise on the sledging, removing the right-hander lbw.
Entirely instrumental breakthroughs followed from spinner Robin Peterson. The day-five pitch offered enough turn for the slow bowler, who chastened the overly-aggressive Mahendra Singh Dhoni and underwhelming Ravindra Jadeja in the same over.
Tail-enders Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma defied for a brief period, before intervened again to reach 350 Test match wickets in just his 69th match, while the talented Ajinkya Rahane targeted a maiden century. Rahane was certainly the find of the tour for India, but ultimately fell short of three figures by four runs when Philander toppled the bails mid slog. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise outstanding innings from the 25-year-old, who staked a serious claim for a move up the order.
India's insufficiency with the bat left the South Africans a small target of 58 runs. Openers Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith had little to no troubling in reaching this in just two deliveries short of a dozen overs. The rest of the afternoon belonged to Kallis.
The veteran all-rounder was characteristically modest during a humble parting speech, and looked forward to his ongoing contribution to the ODI unit, if selected. Steyn was named Man of the Match for a haul of nine for 147, while wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers took the Player of the Series accolade on the back of 14 catches and 190 runs in three innings.
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