Led by super performances from bowlers and a majestic 185 from Dean Elgar, a dominant South Africa thrashed a listless India by an innings and 32 runs inside three days in the first Test at SuperSport Park on Thursday.

After having conceded a lead of 163 runs, as Elgar, along with fifties from Marco Jansen and David Bedingham, took South Africa to 408, India’s batting in the second innings was very much like a horror movie, just like how their lacklustre bowling effort was.

Their second innings ran till 34.1 overs, eight batters fell for single-digit scores as South Africa’s bowlers, led by Nandre Burger’s four-fer to take his debut match tally to seven scalps, made merry in their home conditions.

Talismanic batter Virat Kohli tried to avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat, scoring a fighting 76 off 82 balls. But with his team-mates falling without giving a fight, his knock wasn’t just enough to delay the inevitable as India were bowled out for 131, and are now 1-0 behind in the two-game series.

Armed with a lead of 163 runs, South Africa could have got birthday boy Jaiswal out on the very first ball if Aiden Markram hadn’t shelled a chance at second slip. But the Proteas soon had their first scalp when Kagiso Rabada bowled a corker of a delivery, which seamed away to knock over Rohit Sharma’s off-stump.

Jaiswal was soon out by a rising and well-directed short ball from Nandre Burger, which he tried to evade. But the ball just brushed past the glove and edge was safely taken by Kyle Verreynne.

Shubman Gill began with a short-arm and flick off Rabada fetching him two fours, and after getting a four on the outside edge off him, he looked exquisite in his drives down the ground and on the up. But he fell for 26, playing all around a fuller ball from Marco Jansen and seeing his middle-stump being rattled.

Kohli played some beautiful shots, but had luck on his side. Shreyas Iyer was troubled by the short ball from South Africa’s pacers and was lucky not to be out on the stroke of tea when Keegan Pietersen shelled his catch at third slip.

Post lunch, India resumed from 62/3 and Marco Jansen struck immediately as an uncomfortable looking Shreyas Iyer played all around a straighter delivery and inside-edged to his stumps. Kohli was determined to grind it out and picked a short and wide ball from Gerald Coetzee by punching above cover point for six.

Kohli continued to be exquisite, clipping Coetzee twice through leg-side for boundaries. But he was losing partners from the other end as KL Rahul went for a big drive off Nandre Burget and nicked to second slip. One brought two immediately as Ravichandran Ashwin punched away from the body and was caught at gully for a golden duck.

Kohli survived the hat-trick ball from Burger and notched up a 61-ball fifty with a wristy whip past mid-on for four. Shardul Thakur was dropped at first slip, but it didn’t cost much as an outside edge on being squared up was caught by gully off Kagiso Rabada.

Jasprit Bumrah couldn’t complete the second run and was run-out in pursuit of it, while Mohammed Siraj became the second batter in the Indian innings to be caught behind while trying to leave the bouncer from Burger, with review showing the ball had a spike while brushing the gloves.

Despite being nine down, Kohli went for the attack by slashing and lofting Burger for back-to-back fours. But Jansen took him out for 76 as Kohli’s attempt to pull over the bowler’s head ended in Rabada running in from long-on and making the dive to pluck a sensational catch out of thin air.

In the morning session, Elgar, who will retire from international cricket after the two-match Test series ends, top-scored with a majestic 185. He also had a 111-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Jansen, who mixed sharp driving shots with good judgement to hit 11 fours and a six in his 84 off 147 balls.

For India, Bumrah was pick of bowlers with 4-69, while Siraj briefly shined in his 2-91. But their change bowlers, Prasidh and Thakur, were ineffective and lacklustre in their lines and lengths while taking a wicket each, and allowed the Proteas batters to score freely in what was a disappointing bowling show from the visitors’.

Bumrah and Siraj produced a few plays and misses in their first six overs, but that was it and Jansen began by capitalising on Prasidh’s poor lines by taking back-to-back fours. Elgar then feasted on Prasidh’s bowling by reaching his 150 with a nice drive in the gap between mid-off and extra cover for four off a low full toss.

Jansen struck two fours off Thakur as there was no end to India’s misery, especially after Rahul couldn’t quickly take the chance of Jansen off Ashwin’s bowling. Despite taking the new ball, South Africa continued to take runs quickly as Indian fielders’ shoulders continued to drop, with the bowlers unable to create pressure and take wickets.

Jansen got his second Test fifty by chipping Siraj for consecutive boundaries. The duo continued to pick boundaries freely till Elgar was caught down the leg side thanks to Thakur extracting extra bounce on a back of the length delivery. It ended Elgar’s innings at 185, his second highest Test score, as the left-handed batter walked off to a standing ovation from his home crowd.

India resorted to a short-ball barrage, but it didn’t work as Gerald Coetzee tucked Thakur for four, followed by Jansen pulling and tickling for six and four respectively. Coetzee then deposited Prasidh over long-on for six, before picking out mid-off against Ashwin.

A few balls into the second session, Bumrah struck to knock over Rabada's off-stump and send it on a cartwheel ride. Jansen continued to be impressive in his drives, but Bumrah ended the innings by yorking Burger’s stumps, and Temba Bavuma didn’t come out to bat due to a left hamstring strain.

Brief Scores: India 245 and 131 in 34.1 overs (Virat Kohli 76; Nandre Burger 14-33) lost to South Africa 408 in 108.4 overs (Dean Elgar 185, Marco Jansen 84 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 4-69, Mohammed Siraj 2-91) by an innings and 32 runs

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