Rana’s 10-wicket haul wraps up India’s victory over South Africa

South Africa

India 603 for 6 dec (Shafali 205, Mandhana 149, Ghosh 86, Harmanpreet 69, Rodrigues 55) and 37 for 0 (Shafali 24*) beat South Africa 266 (Kapp 74, Luus 65, Rana 8-77) and 373 (Wolvaardt 122, Luus 109, de Klerk 61, Gayakwad 2-55, Deepti 2-95, Rana 2-111 ) by 10 wickets

India won the one-off Test against South Africa by 10 wickets on the final session of the final day at Chepauk, keeping the visitors winless in the series so far. Shafali Verma‘s double-century, Smriti Mandhana‘s 149, Sneh Rana‘s sensational 10-wicket haul. There were multiple high-points for India. The match will also be remembered for the way South Africa fought hard for almost 240 overs in testing conditions.
That South Africa forced India to bat for the second time after declaring at 603 for 6 showed the visitors’ extraordinary determination, coming on the back of the limited red-ball practice. From being bowled out for 266 in the first innings, South Africa rose thanks to centuries each from Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus and a resolute Nadine de Klerk to keep the contest alive till the final session.

South Africa started a gloomy day four on 232 for 2, trailing by 105 runs, with Wolvaardt seven short of her maiden hundred. She brought up her century in 259 balls, punishing anything short and wide of off stump, but 15 overs into the game, South Africa lost Marizanne Kapp when she played down the wrong line and was trapped lbw by Deepti Sharma. Delmi Tucker was the next one to fall in the following over when Jemimah Rodrigues took a sharp at cover off Rana. Not long after that, left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, in her first over of the day, dismissed Wolvaardt for 122. After pitching the first four balls outside off stump, she darted one on middle and leg and it went in quicker than Wolvaardt anticipated to trap her in front.

Thirty overs, 70 runs, three wickets in the morning. India needed just five more for victory but were made to toil for those.

The afternoon session was a quiet one with South Africa scoring 34 runs in 29 overs. De Klerk was an unsung hero in that period. There was joy in her slow-burn, and was a test of her ability to play the long game. She is usually ultra-aggressive in white-ball cricket. De Klerk spent 213 minutes on the field, and notched up her maiden Test fifty in 174 balls with seven fours. It was one of the great blockathons, almost giving away nothing to the Indian spinners.

Sinalo Jafta, retired hurt due to lower limb cramps at 9, came back to bat in the second session, lasting 36. At tea, South Africa were 336 for 8, trailing by one run and seemed like they would bat out the overs to eke out a draw if de Klerk continued her resilience.

But then, a wicket came out of nowhere. Shafali, in her third over of the second innings, got one to turn in to clean up Masabata Klaas. In the next over, Gayakwad ended de Klerk’s innings with a flighted delivery to disturb her stumps. South Africa had managed to push into the lead, but it was only 36 runs. Shafali and Shubha Satheesh, who came in ahead of Smriti Mandhana, took 9.2 overs to chase it down.

The focus shifts to the T20Is quickly in a few days’ time but this was cricket at its finest at Chepauk, where women’s Tests returned for the first time since 1976.

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