Sneh Rana and Shafali Verma headline India's Test win over SA

Sneh Rana's magical bowling and Shafali Verma's heroic batting helped India overcome South Africa in a one-off Test and extend their unbeaten run in the red-ball format.

Tanveer Singh Kapoor
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India celebration

India celebrate their Test win against South Africa.

India continued their unbeaten run in the red-ball format by sealing a comfortable win over South Africa in a one-off Test at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday (July 1). Sneh Rana ran riot with the ball, while Shafali Verma's double-century helped secure a mammoth total of over 600 runs in the first innings. 

The morning session commenced with skipper Laura Wolvaardt reaching the three-figure mark. She is the third woman after Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont to score a century in all three formats. Marizanne Kapp was the first batter to depart on the final day. Deepti Sharma's delivery took a sharp turn and stayed low, which Kapp was unable to read. 

India didn't have to wait for the second wicket of the session. Rana picked up where she left off and struck back for the hosts in no time. Delmi Tucker was out for her second consecutive duck, striking the ball towards cover but finding Jemimah Rodrigues instead. 

Wolvaardt was looking well-set, having already played over 300 balls. But her long innings was cut short by Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who hadn't picked a single wicket in the previous innings. The left-arm spinner, who was also the most economic bowler in the second innings, rattled the stumps to dismiss the Proteas skipper for 122 runs. 

Nadine de Klerk, who is typically known for attacking bowlers, was defending her wicket on Monday. South Africa ended the first session with the score of 302/5, trailing by 35 runs. Sinalo Jafta, who had faced only 18 balls, did not come out to continue her innings because of lower limb cramps. As a result, Annerie Dercksen was sent out to replace the wicketkeeper. 

Dercksen didn't stay on the pitch for a long time, giving away her wicket to Pooja Vastrakar. The ball kept low yet again and the seamer reaped the reward after a plumb LBW call. De Klerk continued to defend her wicket in an effort to salvage a draw for the Proteas. Fourteen overs after Dercksen's wicket, Tumi Sekhukhune walked back to the pavilion after calamitious mix-up between the wickets, adding to South Africa's woes.

Jafta returned to the crease to continue her innings, but struggled to tackle the Indian spinners. She inevitably fell victim to Sneh Rana, catching an outside edge to a delivery which didn't spin back in. 

With only two wickets in hand, a lot lied on de Klerk's shoulders, and she didn't give up the fight. Masabata Klaas provided good defensive support to the allrounder, but Shafali got the better of her with a sharp turn. After Klass' departure, de Klerk accelerated her innings, reaching the half-century mark. A miscommunication between Vastrakar and Renuka Singh Thakur which caused the catch to be dropped also ensured her survival. However, Gayakwad mamaged to clean de Klerk's all ends up, ending the Proteas' innings.

Shubha Satheesh was sent out to open the innings alongside Shafali Verma to chase a total of 37 runs. The opening pair managed to do the same in 9.2 overs without losing a single wicket. This is India's fourth consecutive victory on home soil, with their previous one against South Africa dating back to November 2014 in Mysore. 

Brief scores: India 1st innings 603/6d in 115.1 overs (Shafali Verma 205, Smriti Mandhana 149; Delmi Tucker 2/141) 2nd innings 37-0 in 9.2 overs (Shafali Verma 24*, Shubha Satheesh 13*) beat South Africa 1st innings 266/10 in 84.3 overs (Marizanne Kapp 74, Sune Luus 65; Sneh Rana 8/77) and 2nd innings 373/10 in 154.4 overs follow-on (Laura Wolvaardt 122, Sune Luus 109; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2-55) by 10 wickets. POTM: Sneh Rana