MOHALI, Nov 7: Ravindra Jadeja made a memorable comeback to Test cricket with a five-wicket haul as India relied on the spinners to fashion a resounding 108-run victory against South Africa in the low-scoring first match to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series, here today.
Chasing a difficult 218-run target on a turning track, the Proteas were bundled for 109 runs in 39.5 overs in the final session as the match ended inside three days at the IS Bindra stadium.
Jadeja, who bagged his third fifer in 13 Tests with figures of 5/21, trapped Imran Tahir (4) LBW to pick the final South African wicket as the team celebrated the win against the No.1 Test side with congratulatory hugs amongst themselves. Virat Kohli�s joy of winning his first game at home as Test captain was also evident, especially after the hosts lost the ODI and the T20 series against the visitors.
If Ravichandran Ashwin turned on the heat against the formidable batting line-up in the first innings with a five- wicket haul, then left-arm spinner Jadeja, marked his Test return with a fifer in the second.
The spin troika of Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra snapped 19 wickets in the game. Kohli wasted no time in getting down to business in the final innings by giving the new ball to spinners Ashwin (3-39) and Jadeja.
The visitors� move of sending pinch-hitter Vernon Philander (1) was neutralised when Jadeja trapped the batsman LBW on the very first delivery of the second over.
Ashwin, who had a special game after becoming the fastest Indian bowler to race to 150 wickets in his 29th Test, spun into action from the other end to send Faf du Plessis (1) caught at slip on a lovely tossed up delivery that the jittery-looking batsman failed to cope.
The nerves were palpable in the visiting camp when skipper Hashim Amla was cleaned up for nought by Jadeja after looking to leave a length ball that carried straight in and rattled the middle stump. South Africa were reduced to 10 for three.
Mishra (1/19), introduced in the 10th over of the innings, then produced the big moment after cleaning up first -innings top-scorer AB de Villiers (16) on a flighted, pitched up delivery that stayed low and rushed on to the off stump. This was the second time in the match that Mishra had plotted the star batsman�s downfall.
The two teams will now travel to Bengaluru for the second Test, beginning November 14.
The game after tea seemed more like a foregone conclusion but the seventh-wicket 42-run stand between Stiaan van Zyl (36) and Simon Harmer (11) did give the home fans a bit of a jitter.
Jadeja, who retunred to the team after more than a year, finally broke the stand by sending back Harmer, caught at slip. But the wicket only came after the on-field umpires made sure whether Jadeja had bowled a legitimate delivery or not.
Jadeja�s wicket of de Villiers in the first innings, when he was on 7 and went on to score 63, was denied on the second day after television replays showed the left-arm spinner had overstepped the popping crease.
India 1st innings 201
South Africa 1st innings 184
India 2nd innings (overnight 125/2 in 40 overs): Murali Vijay c sub (T Bavuma) b Imran Tahir 47, Shikhar Dhawan c de Villiers b Philander 0, Cheteshwar Pujara c Amla b Imran Tahir 77, Virat Kohli c Vilas b van Zyl 29, Ajinkya Rahane c sub (T Bavuma) b Harmer 2, Wriddhiman Saha c Vilas b Imran Tahir 20, Ravindra Jadeja lbw b Harmer 8, Amit Mishra c du Plessis b Harmer 2, Ravichandran Ashwin c Amla b Imran Tahir 3, Umesh Yadav b Harmer 1, Varon Aaron not out 1. Extras: (B-9, LB-1) 10. Total: (all out in 75.3 overs) 200. Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-95, 3-161, 4-164, 5-164, 6-178, 7-182, 8-185, 9-188, 10-200. Bowling: VD Philander 12-3-23-1, SR Harmer 24-5-61-4, D Elgar 7-1-34-0, Imran Tahir 16.3-1-48-4, K Rabada 12-7-19-0, S van Zyl 4-1-5-1.
South Africa 2nd innings: Dean Elgar c Kohli b Aaron 16, Vernon Philander lbw b Jadeja 1, Faf du Plessis c Rahane b Ashwin 1, Hashim Amla b Jadeja 0, AB de Villiers b Mishra 16, Stiaan van Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 36, Dane Vilas b Jadeja 7, Simon Harmer c Rahane b Jadeja 11, Dale Steyn c Vijay b Ashwin 2, Kagiso Rabada not out 1, Imran Tahir lbw b Jadeja 4. Extras: (B-8 LB-5 W-1) 14. Total: (All out in 39.5 overs) 109. Fall of wickets: 1/8 2/9 3/10 4/32 5/45 6/60 7/102 8/102 9/105. Bowling: Ravichandran Ashwin 14-5-39-3, Ravindra Jadeja 11.5-4-21-5, Amit Mishra 8-0-26-1, Varun Aaron 3-0-3-1, Umesh Yadav 3-0-7-0. � PTI