Dean Elgar became the first South African to carry his bat through a Test innings twice, but it was not enough to stop India winning the third and final Test match at the Wanderers Stadium by 63 runs on Saturday.
Elgar had previously made 118 out of a total of 214 for the Proteas against England at Kingsmead in 2015, and on Saturday he finished unbeaten on 86 (240 balls, 9 fours and a six) as his team finished 177 all out – well short of their victory target of 241.
The Proteas, nevertheless, won the overall series 2-1 and managed to close the gap behind India at the top of the Test Championship rankings.
For a long time it looked as though the Proteas might pull off a successful chase as Elgar and Hashim Amla (52 off 140 balls, 5 fours) put on 119 for the second wicket in 51 overs.
But the departure of Amla shortly before the tea interval sparked a collapse that saw the last nine wickets fall for 53 runs in 21 overs. Vernon Philander (10) was the only other batsman to reach double figures.
Mohammed Shami matched the performance of Jasprit Bumrah from the first innings in taking 5/28 as all four Indian seamers performed admirably.
The Proteas will look back on a number of dropped catches in both Indian innings’ that cost them dearly, but the plain fact was that the Indian bowlers used the conditions better than their South African counterparts.
It was India’s third Test match victory in South Africa and their second at the Wanderers where they maintained their unbeaten record of two wins and three draws in five matches.
Virat Kohli finished the leading run-scorer in the series while Philander, Shami and Kagiso Rabada were the joint leading wicket takers (15 each).
Buvneshwar Kumar was named Man of the Match for his contributions with both bat and ball, while Philander was named Man of the Series.