Captain Dean Elgar saw his team home with 96 not out as South Africa beat India by seven wickets in the second test on Thursday to level the series 1-1 and send it to a deciding game.
Opener Elgar batted all the way through as South Africa chased down the target of 240 late on the fourth day at the Wanderers and after the first two sessions were lost to rain.
The game appeared finely balanced with both teams sensing a chance of winning ahead of South Africa’s final innings. The pace bowlers had worried batsmen throughout the low-scoring test and South Africa’s out-of-form batting order needed its highest total of the series to win.
But South Africa got there with ease in the end to finish on 243-3, thanks in the main to Elgar’s typically gritty innings.
He batted for more than five hours over two days and took a couple of blows on the body from bouncers, one of which slammed into the grill of his helmet. He kept going and hit the winning runs.
“I would like to think the knocks I take make me extra motivated to perform,” Elgar said. “Some would call it stupid and some would call it brave. The bigger picture is for us to win.”
Temba Bavuma was 23 not out and he and Elgar took South Africa surging to victory with a flurry of boundaries at the end. Elgar sealed it by hammering one through midwicket and to the boundary.
Rassie van der Dussen had also played an important role with his 40 in an 82-run stand with Elgar after South Africa was 93-2.