Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

India break Australia's record with 11 consecutive home Test series wins

South Africa sink to defeat by an innings and 137 runs in Pune

It’s official now – you just can’t beat India in India. Well, it’s not official but it should be. In the last five years, India have lost one Test at home. That’s one from 25 matches across five years, with 19 wins. No major team can boast of a record anywhere near India’s.

Want more proof of their awesomeness at home? Following their clinical win by an innings and 137 runs over South Africa in the second Test against South Africa in Pune on Sunday, India broke the mighty Australia’s record of 10 straight home Test series wins; a run that was achieved twice between 1994 and 2008. Indian now have 11 and sit alone at the top.

There was an air of inevitability around it. Even when Jasprit Bumrah broke his back before the start of the series and was ruled out for at least three months, India were the favourites. If the opening Test was one-way traffic, with the hosts coasting to victory by 203 runs, the second match was a no contest.

The pitch in Pune had good pace and carry, which meant spinners and seamers were both in with a chance. After South Africa were bowled out close to stumps on Saturday, they were asked to pad up again Sunday morning and it went from bad to worse.

Ishant Sharma struck in the first over itself, getting the out-of-sorts Aiden Markram lbw, who finished with a pair in the match. The next two dismissals were all down to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s brilliance.

The keeper first pouched Theunis de Bruyn down the leg side off seamer Umesh Yadav, leaping full stretch to his left and taking a one-handed catch. Captain Faf du Plessis then fell to a juggling act from Saha, the keeper making three attempts before finally catching the edge off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

The floodgates opened thereafter. The killer blow was delivered by Ravindra Jadeja who completely beat an ugly slog from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to rattle the woodwork and reduce South Africa to 79-5 in the morning session of day four, still a long way away from making India bat again.

India's cricket team wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha takes a catch of Faf du Plessis during fourth day of second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Wriddhiman Saha, pictured juggling the ball before catching out Faf du Plessis, was brilliant with the gloves on Sunday. AP

The hosts were into the tail and were eager to not let them stick around, the way they did in the first innings by stretching the total to 275.

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami bowled a brute of a bouncer from round the wicket to have Senuran Muthusamy fending off to second slip. That dismissal in itself showed the gap between the two teams – India were superior in every aspect of the game, even in pace bowling where the Proteas pride themselves.

Mistakes, however, started to creep in in the middle session – India didn’t appeal for an lbw off Vernon Philander, while Keshav Maharaj was dropped at slips, both against the bowling of Jadeja.

But at 129-7, the writing was long on the wall. The Proteas folded up for 189. Jadeja finished with 3-52 while seamer Umesh Yadav picked up 3-22.

It was a great 50th Test as captain for Virat Kohli, who recorded his 30th win. Only Australian greats Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting had more wins at that stage of their career.

Updated: October 13, 2019 03:21 PM

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