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Ashwin wrecks South Africa, India clinch series

Ashwin wrecks South Africa, India clinch series

India's Sharma and captain Kohli celebrate after the dismissal of South Africa's Villiers during the third day of their third test cricket match in Nagpur

NAGPUR, India (Reuters) – Ravichandran Ashwin led South Africa’s rout on a spinners’ paradise as India romped to a 124-run victory with more than two days to spare in the third test to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series on Friday.

The off-spinner claimed seven second innings wickets while leg-spinner Amit Mishra grabbed the remaining three as South Africa, chasing 310 to stay alive in the contest, folded for 185.

India's Ashwin celebrates along with his teammates after taking the wicket of South Africa's Elgar during the third day of their third test cricket match in Nagpur
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (3rd L) celebrates along with his teammates after taking the wicket of South Africa’s Dean Elgar during the third day of their third test cricket match in Nagpur, India, November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The setback also meant South Africa, currently the top ranked team in this format, succumbed to their first away test series defeat since 2006.

Ashwin, who had claimed five wickets in the first innings, made the most of the turning track at the VCA Stadium, dismissing Dean Elgar (18) and AB de Villiers (nine) in the morning to peg back South Africa.

South Africa skipper Hashim Amla dug in to negate the spin, playing with soft hands so edges did not carry to slip, while Faf du Plessis used his feet well against the spinners.

India's captain Kohli along with his teammates Pujara and Sharma appeal unsuccessfully for the wicket of South Africa's Plessis during the third day of their third test cricket match in Nagpur
India’s captain Virat Kohli (C) along with his teammates Cheteshwar Pujara (L) and Rohit Sharma appeal unsuccessfully for the wicket of South Africa’s Faf du Plessis during the third day of their third test cricket match in Nagpur, India, November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

In a test match that saw 32 wickets tumble on the first two days, the pair showed grit and determination to thwart the Indian bowlers for more than 46 overs with the biggest partnership in the low-scoring contest.

The duo survived numerous leg-before and bat-pad catch appeals before Mishra ended the 72-run stand that unhinged the visitors.

South Africa's captain Amla and his teammate Plessis get ready to bat during the third day of their third test cricket match against India in Nagpur
South Africa’s captain Hashim Amla (L) and his teammate Faf du Plessis get ready to bat during the third day of their third test cricket match against India in Nagpur, India, November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Amla offered an edge off the top half of his bat to perish in gully and in Mishra’s next over, Du Plessis lost his stump to a ball that kept low. Both batsmen contributed 39 runs each.

Ashwin then returned to mow down the Proteas tail to finish with a match haul of 12 wickets that also earned him the man-of-the-match award.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Patrick Johnston)

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