Jadeja, Ashwin spin India to big win in Mohali
Eighteen wickets tumbled on a third day as South Africa wobbled quickly in their pursuit of a 218-run victory.
MOHALI, INDIA - India's Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin thrived on a spinners' paradise in Mohali, bamboozling South Africa's batsmen in the first test to secure a 108-run victory with more than two days to spare on Saturday.
Eighteen wickets tumbled on an extraordinary third day as South Africa wobbled quickly in their pursuit of a 218-run victory target before being shot out for just 109 as India took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Jadeja took five second innings wickets and his match haul of eight wickets, to go with the 38 crucial runs he had contributed to India's first innings, earned him the man-of-the-match award.
The Proteas sprang a surprise by sending paceman Vernon Philander to open the innings, a ploy that bombed with Jadeja trapping the batsman leg before with his first ball.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja returned to deal a bigger blow when he castled Hashim Amla, the South Africa captain offering no shot to a ball that crashed onto his middle stump.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra drove home the advantage by bowling AB de Villiers, for the second time in the test, with a flighted delivery that sneaked through the South African talisman's defence.
Stiaan van Zyl (36) offered some resistance, but it was too little in the face of some aggressive spin bowling on a spiteful track by Jadeja and Ashwin, who also finished with eight wickets from the match.
South Africa had earlier roared back into contention with off-spinner Simon Harmer (4-61) and leggie Imran Tahir (4-48) tormenting India's batsmen before the hosts folded for 200 in their second innings.
Resuming on 125-2 in a low-scoring match, India's hopes of batting the visitors out of the contest received a boost when a groin injury prevented Proteas pace spearhead Dale Steyn from adding his considerable weight to the tourists' attack.
The visitors, however, refused to throw in the towel and claimed an astonishing six wickets for 24 runs to peg back India, who were cruising along at 161-2 at one stage.
Overnight batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli began well, looking largely untroubled in their 66-run stand.
Part-timer Van Zyl claimed the vital breakthrough for South Africa when he induced an edge from Kohli (29) and Vilas, standing up, took a good catch behind the stumps.
Tahir struck a crucial blow with his first delivery of the day to dismiss Pujara, whose 77 turned out to be the highest individual score in the spinner-dominated contest.
Harmer then joined the party and dismissed Ajinkya Rahane, Jadeja and Mishra in quick succession.
South Africa still needed to better their first innings display, when they were bundled out for just 184, to win the contest but India now head to Bangalore for the second test from Nov. 14 with a psychological edge.