South Africa relied on their bowlers’ disciplined performances to thrash India by an innings and 90 runs on the third day of the second Test on Saturday.
Trailing by 418, India were bowled out for 328 in their second innings despite fighting half-centuries from former captain Sourav Ganguly (87) and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52).
India’s humiliating defeat inside three days was their biggest at home since 2000 when they lost by an innings and 71 runs to South Africa at Bangalore.
The visitors were indebted to their fast bowlers for going 1-0 up in the three-Test series as they did not allow India’s top-order batsmen to settle on a good pitch. The final match starts in Kanpur on April 11.
Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini grabbed three wickets apiece and Morne Morkel two. Jacques Kallis and left-arm spinner Paul Harris each took one wicket.
The 23-year-old Morkel, playing only his fifth Test, took two big wickets when he removed former captain Rahul Dravid (17) and Venkatsai Laxman (35), both famed for playing long innings.
India were found wanting against pace for a second successive time in the match as they lost three crucial wickets in the opening session and one in the second with just 125 runs on the board.
Ganguly and Dhoni defied the South African attack for more than a session with a 110-run stand for the fifth wicket, playing attractive shots on both sides of the wicket.
Ganguly looked set to complete his 16th Test hundred when given out caught behind off Steyn by umpire Tony Hill. He looked a bit surprised with the decision before walking back to the pavilion. He hit eight fours.
Dhoni soon followed his partner when skipper Graeme Smith held a low catch in the slips off Ntini. He struck five fours in his 132-ball knock.
South Africa earlier declared their first innings closed at their overnight total of 494-7 in reply to India’s meagre 76.
The South African pacemen, who required just 20 overs to bundle India out in the first innings, returned to haunt the hosts when they captured three wickets for 70 runs in the opening 20 overs.
India’s batting woes started when Ntini trapped opener Virender Sehwag (17) leg-before with a delivery that came in sharply, ending the batsman’s brief flourish.
Sehwag, who hammered the fastest recorded triple-century in Tests in the drawn opening match in Chennai, went for big shots from the beginning as he smashed paceman Steyn for two sixes in the morning’s opening over.
India suffered a big setback when they lost Dravid, who was undone by a rising ball from Morkel, with AB de Villiers holding the catch at third slip.
Opener Wasim Jaffer edged Kallis to De Villiers in the slips, while Laxman was caught behind to leave their team reeling at 125-4.
There was respite from pace for the Indian batsmen in the afternoon when Smith pressed lone spinner Harris into the attack for the first time in the match.
Harris got his first wicket when he bowled skipper Anil Kumble for five before Steyn and Ntini completed the victory in the extended last session. — AFP