DURBAN, Dec 30 (PTI): India crashed to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat in the second cricket Test after their young batsmen surrendered meekly to give South Africa a 1-0 series triumph in Jacques Kallis’ farewell match, here today.
Needing to bat out the entire fifth day’s play at the Kingsmead to force a draw, the Indians had the worst possible start by losing Virat Kohli in the very first ball and never really recovered from the jolt to be bundled out for 223.
Ajinkya Rahane stood bravely amidst the ruins with a gutsy 96 and was the last man out. India were pegged back after losing five wickets in the morning session.
Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (4/74) was pick of the bowler for the hosts with a four-wicket haul while pacemen Dale Steyn (3/47) and Vernon Philander (3/43) scalped three batsmen each.
South Africa then chased down the small 58-run target in 11.4 overs as skipper Graeme Smith (27) hit a six and a four off Rohit Sharma to record their first win at Kingsmead. Alviro Petersen remained unbeaten on 31.
The victory was a befitting farewell gift to their retiring hero Kallis, who himself had a memorable match by cracking his 45th Test hundred.
Smith’s cover drive to fence triggered off celebrations in the home camp with the players hugging each other and shaking hands while the spectators also cheered the team.
For the Indians, it turned out to be a heart-breaking end to the tour, having been drubbed in the One-day series as well. The loss was all the more disappointing since the team had fought gallantly in the thrilling drawn Test in Johannesburg.
It is the fifth time that India have lost a Test series on South African soil, managing a 1-1 draw only once in 2010-11 rubber. India have never won a series in South Africa and now have lost nine of the last 10 overseas Tests.
Rahane played a fine rearguard innings scoring 96 runs off 157 balls with 11 fours and two sixes, a lone hand with none of the frontline batsmen making an important contribution in order to save the match.
After Steyn and Peterson did the early damage, Philander chipped in and Morne Morkel (0/34) provided able support as the Indians lost five wickets for 105 runs in the morning session.
Starting at 173 for 7 after lunch, all that was left for Rahane and Zaheer Khan to do was delay the inevitable as long as possible. And they did it for nearly 10 overs, as Rahane started farming the strike.
With the Proteas pacers unable to get the breakthrough and the second new ball fast approaching, Peterson was brought on in the 76th over and the move paid off two overs later, with Zaheer being trapped LBW. He scored three runs, but faced 41 balls, and put up 35 runs with Rahane.
Rahane then brought out his shots in order to get to his maiden Test hundred, as he raced to the 90s. At the other end, Steyn got Ishant Sharma (1) in the 85th over and celebrated his 350th Test wicket with vigour. And in the very next over, Rahane was bowled by Philander, a huge swipe gunning for glory missing and the stumps shattered.
Resuming the day on 68 for two, India had their two best batsmen – Pujara on 32 and Kohli on 11 – at the crease, and any hopes of seeing the day out rested on their shoulders.
But all of it came to nought as Kohli was out on the first delivery of the day when Steyn bowled a short of length delivery outside the off-stump and the batsman played at it. Kohli, though didn’t make contact, the ball seemed to have brushed his shoulder on its way to the keeper and umpire Rod Tucker adjudged him out.
This was his second bad decision after giving Jacques Kallis out LBW off an inside edge in the first Test at Johannesburg.
An irate Kohli walked off, but India’s disastrous tale continued as 16 balls later, Steyn bowled a superb delivery to fox Pujara, who thought he had covered the line of the ball. But his off-stump was rocked back as the batting side’s hopes were deflated.
India 1st innings: 334
South Africa 1st innings: 500
India 2nd Innings: (Overnight 68/2)
Dhawan c du Plessis b R Peterson 19
Murali c Smith b Philander 6
Pujara b Steyn 32
Kohli c de Villiers b Steyn 11
Rohit lbw b Philander 25
Rahane b Philander 96
Dhoni c Petersen b Peterson 15
Jadeja c Morkel b Peterson 8
Zaheer lbw b Peterson 3
Ishant c de Villiers b Steyn 1
Shami not out 1
Extras: (B-4 W-2) 6
Total: (All out in 86 overs) 223
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-53, 3-68, 4-71, 5-104, 6-146, 7-154, 8-189, 9-206.
Bowling: Dale Steyn 21-8-47-3, Vernon Philander 16-4-43-3, Morne Morkel 16-6-34-0, Robin Peterson 24-3-74-4, JP Duminy 8-2-20-0, Faf du Plessis 1-0-1-0.
South Africa 2nd innings
Smith not out 27
Petersen not out 31
Extras: (w1) 1
Total: (0 wickets; 11.4 overs) 59
Bowling: Mohammed Shami 2-1-4-0, I Sharma 5-1-29-0, RA Jadeja 4-0-16-0, RG Sharma 0.4-0-10-0.