Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh heaped praises on Ravindra Jadeja for his three-wicket haul in the first session on Day five at Vishakapatnam. Jadeja picked up three scalps in an over including a spectacular caught and bowled that left South African opener Aiden Markram open-mouthed at the crease. India's bowling attack led by R Ashwin and Jadeja dismantled the Proteas batting order with Mohammad Shami hitting the stumps on three occasions, piling more miseries on South Africa. Chasing a target of 395 runs, South Africa are now staring at a huge defeat with tailenders Senuran Muthuswamy and Dane Piedt trying to hold the fort for the visitors. Earlier in the day, R Ashwin reached yet another milestone in his career as he picked his 350th Test wicket and equalled Muttiah Muralitharan's feat.
What an over that was from @imjadeja 3 wickets 💪 that fought and bowled was unbelievable— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 6, 2019
India's premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday became the joint-fastest to take 350 wickets, matching Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan's feat in his 66th Test. R Ashwin, who had taken his 27th five-wicket haul in the first innings of the opening Test against South Africa, castled Theunis de Bruyn with one that turned back sharply from wide outside the off-stump for his milestone wicket on day five here. The 33-year-old took just five balls to provide India the breakthrough in the morning session with South African chasing an improbable target of 395 runs. The wily off-spinner has answered his critics with a stellar show in the first Test of the home season. Ashwin, who played his first international game since December 2018, warmed the bench in the two-Test series in the West Indies in August-September with Ravindra Jadeja being the preferred choice. Ahead of the first Test, skipper Virat Kohli had said that Ashwin remains India's go-to spinner in home conditions.
India had South Africa on the mat at 63/4 but fighting centuries from opener Dean Elgar (160) and Quinton de Kock (111) resurrected the Proteas innings and some decent contributions from lower down the order helped the visitors get to 431 as India only managed to get a 71-run lead. Opening the innings for the hosts, Mayank Agarwal failed to make an impact this time around as he was dismissed for a 31-ball 7. However, Rohit Sharma was not distracted by the early setback and started going after the South African bowlers. He also found support in Cheteshwar Pujara as Sharma brought up his fifth century in the game's longest format and also a second straight ton i.e. one in each innings of a Test match. The Mumbai batsman was involved in a 169-run stand with Pujara for the second wicket. The Hitman was eventually dismissed for a 149-ball 127 a knock which involved 10 boundaries and seven maximums. He was stumped by Quinton de Kock off Keshav Maharaj.