India completed a thumping 203-run win over South Africa in the first Test at Visakhapatnam, despite some valiant lower-order resistance from the tourists on day five.
Ninth-wicket pair Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt put on 91 either side of lunch to delay the inevitable, after the Proteas had collapsed to 70-8 at the hands of Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.
Piedt brought up his maiden half-century during the defiant stand, while debutant Muthusamy was left stranded on 49 not out when Shami (5-35) ousted Kagiso Rabada for 18 to complete his five-wicket haul and bring the contest to an end.
South Africa were dismissed for 191, the damage having been done in a dramatic morning session highlighted by Jadeja (4-87) claiming three wickets in one over.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 6, 2019
While Shami and Jadeja were the final-day heroes for India, the hosts’ position of dominance owed much to Rohit Sharma, who marked his first Test as an opener with twin hundreds, first-innings double-centurion Mayank Agarwal and Ravichandran Ashwin (7-145 in South Africa’s first dig).
After resuming on 11-1, the tourists’ slim hopes of batting out the final day were soon dented significantly as Ashwin cleaned up Theunis de Bruyn in the second over of the day to claim his 350th Test wicket in only his 66th match.
De Bruyn was the first of four South African batsmen in succession to be bowled, with Temba Bavuma (0), skipper Faf du Plessis (12) and Quinton de Kock (0) all falling to Shami as variable bounce made batting increasingly tricky.
Jadeja then took centre stage in the 27th over, first taking a return catch to dismiss Aiden Markram, who had dug in to make 39, before trapping Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj lbw with successive balls.
To their credit, Muthusamy and Piedt battled through to lunch and then extended their partnership into the afternoon, the latter bringing up his first Test fifty from 86 balls with eight fours and a six.
It took the return of Shami to finally break the stand, the experienced paceman bowling Piedt with the first ball of a new spell.
Last man Rabada thumped four boundaries but he too fell victim to Shami, denying Muthusamy a half-century.
The second of three Tests starts at Pune on Thursday.