Mohali: India's spinners tied South Africa's batsmen in knots to give the hosts a 108-run victory in the bowler-dominated first Test in Mohali on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja grabbed five wickets and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took three as the Proteas, set a victory target of 218, were shot out for 109 after tea on the third day.
Both bowlers finished with eight wickets in the low-scoring match played on a dusty, dry pitch at the IS Bindra- PCA Stadium, with the Indian spinners claiming 19 of the 20 South African scalps.
The Proteas were reduced to 60-6 before Stiaan van Zyl, who top-scored with 36, and Simon Harmer (11) got together to put on 42 for the seventh wicket.
Seven batsmen failed to reach double figures, leaving the top-ranked South Africans a lot to ponder ahead of the second Test in the four-match series which starts in Bangalore on November 14.
Earlier, South African spinners Harmer and Imran Tahir claimed four wickets each to rip through India's batting in the morning session.
India, who started the third day at 125-2 in their second innings, moved to 161-2 before a batting meltdown saw them lose their last eight wickets for 39 runs.
South Africa fared worse when they batted a second time on a wicket that has proved to be a batsman's nightmare.
The gamble to open the batting with tailender Vernon Philander backfired when the fast bowler was leg-before to Jadeja for one in the second over.
Ashwin, who had taken five wickets in the first innings, struck in the third over as Faf du Plessis edged an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.
From 9-2, the Proteas became 32-4 as Jadeja bowled skipper Hashim Amla for no score and star batsman AB de Villiers (16) also found his stumps shattered by leg-spinner Amit Mishra.
The wickets continued to tumble as opener Dean Elgar (16) top-edged an intended pull off seamer Varun Aaron and spooned an easy catch to Indian captain Virat Kohli at mid-on.
In the morning, the loss of three top-order batsmen in the space of three runs triggered India's collapse even though the Proteas fielded without their injured pace spearhead Dale Steyn.
India moved to 161-2 before the top-ranked Proteas, without their injured pace spearhead Dale Steyn, grabbed three top-order wickets for as many runs to spark a collapse.
The overnight pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli batted through the first hour to take their third wicket stand to 66 runs.
Medium-pacer Stiaan van Zyl, the sixth bowler summoned by South African captain Hashim Amla, broke the threatening partnership soon after the drinks interval by having Kohli caught behind for 29.
Pujara himself fell two overs later for 77, edging leg-spinner Imran Tahir's first delivery to Amla in the slips.
South Africa gained another wicket in the next over when Ajinkya Rahane was caught smartly at short-leg by substitute fielder Temba Bavuma off Simon Harmer.
The off-spinner earned two more quick wickets to reduce India to 182-7 as he trapped Ravindra Jadeja leg-before for eight.
A reckless shot from Amit Mishra gave South Africa their seventh wicket and Harmer his third. Amit Mishra was caught at backward square-leg for two.
Tahir had Ravichandran Ashwin caught in the slips off the last ball before lunch, leaving Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten on eight.
Umesh Yadav fell soon after lunch interval. His attempted slog-sweep off Harmer ended up disturbing the timber.
Varun Aaron was the last man to get out as Tahir claimed his fourth wicket of the innings.
The tourists again took the field without Steyn, who has been sidelined for the entire innings due to a groin strain.
India (1st innings): 201
South Africa (1st innings): 184
India (2nd innings): M. Vijay c sub b Tahir 47, S. Dhawan c de Villiers b Philander 0, C. Pujara c Amla b Tahir 77, V. Kohli c Vilas b van Zyl 29, A. Rahane c sub b Harmer 2, W. Saha c Vilas b Tahir 20, R. Jadeja lbw b Harmer 8, A. Mishra c du Plessis b Harmer 2, R. Ashwin c Amla b Tahir 3, U. Yadav b Harmer 1, V. Aaron (not out) 1. Extras (b9, lb1) 10. Total (in 75.3 overs) 200.
FoW: 1-9, 2-95, 3-161, 4-164, 5-164, 6-178, 7-182, 8-185, 9-188.
Bowling: Philander 12-3-23-1, Harmer 24-5-61-4, Elgar 7-1-34-0, Tahir 16.3-1-48-4, Rabada 12-7-19-0, Stiaan van Zyl 4-1-5-1.
South Africa (2nd innings): D. Elgar c Kohli b Aaron 16, V. Philander lbw b Jadeja 1, F. du Plessis c Rahane b Ashwin 1, H. Amla b Jadeja 0, AB de Villiers b Mishra 16, S. van Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 36, D. Vilas b Jadeja 7, S. Harmer c Rahane b Jadeja 11, D. Steyn c Vijay b Ashwin 2, K. Rabada (not out) 1, Imran Tahir lbw b Jadeja 4. Extras (b8, lb5, w1) 14. Total (in 39.5 overs) 109.
FoW: 1-8, 2-9, 3-10, 4-32, 5-45, 6-60, 7-102, 8-102, 9-105.
Bowling: Ashwin 14-5-39-3, Jadeja 11.5-4-21-5, Mishra 8-0-26-1, Aaron 3-0-3-1, Yadav 3-0-7-0.
Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja.
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