Lungi Ngidi took six wickets in an innings and four of the last seven on the final day to lead the Standard Bank Proteas to victory over India by 135 runs in the second Sunfoil Freedom Test match at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
This victory also enabled the Proteas to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series with only the final match left to be played at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium from next Wednesday.
Ngidi’s return of 6/39 was the seventh-best by a South African on debut and the 27th best on the all-time list. In all, he only bowled 26.2 overs in the match for his 7 wickets which gave him an incredible strike rate of a wicket every 22.5 balls.
At the other end of the statistical scale, Cheteshwar Pujara became the 23rd player, the first Indian player and the first for 18 years to be run out in both innings of the same Test match.
India realized from the outset that their only chance of pulling off an unlikely victory and keep the series alive was to go for their shots and they went down bravely.
The Proteas were up for the challenge and produced an incredible display of outfielding which included the run out of Pujara and stunning catches by Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers. De Villiers is more or less expected to take chances of that sort but to watch Morkel galloping around the boundary like a thoroughbred champion and then diving full length was something else altogether.
Rohit Sharma made a top score of 47 (74 balls, 6 fours and a six) before falling to that De Villiers catch.
It was a highly encouraging sign of South Africa’s long-term future that two bowlers with a combined age of 43 took all nine wickets that fell to bowlers in India’s second innings.
The Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) benefited to the tune of R233 000 for the match which means the total for the series after two matches is R447 000. The SET benefits from boundaries and sixes hit by batsmen and wickets taken by bowlers.