Cricket: South Africa complete stunning test series victory over India

South Africa's Temba Bavuma (vice-captain) and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate after winning the match and series
South Africa's Temba Bavuma (vice-captain) and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate after winning the match and series Photo credit: Getty Images

South Africa have completed a seven-wicket victory over world No.1 India after lunch on the fourth day of the decisive third and final test at Cape Town to claim their series 2-1.

Set a target of 212 to win, the home side chased down the score, thanks to a superb career-best 82 from No.3 batter Keegan Petersen.

For just the fourth time in 133 years, a team has scored more than 200 at Cape Town to win and follows South Africa's epic seven-wicket victory at Johannesburg in the second test, when they needed 240 in the fourth innings.

Petersen, who was the leading scorer in the series with 276 runs, was the anchor for the home side, but important unbeaten contributions also came from Rassie van der Dussen (41) and Temba Bavuma (32), as they put on 57 for the fourth wicket.

The result leaves India still in search of a test series victory in South Africa, despite victory in the opening match.

South Africa, who were underdogs for the series despite home advantage with their inexperienced side, started the day on 101/2 and had plenty of alarms on the difficult pitch against the high-quality Indian seamers, who might have had more reward with better luck.

India were left hugely frustrated by the technology used for dismissal referrals and might have talked themselves into some trouble, with their deliberate on-field comments into the stump microphones.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar admits he had to show some tough love to his players, which he believes was behind their turnaround in fortunes.

The home side were well beaten by 113 runs in the first test at Pretoria, but bounced back against expectations with their young side to win at both Johannesburg and Cape Town against the No.1-ranked team in the world.

"We have a young, talented group," Elgar says. "The experience isn't there, but we are gaining it and getting better every day.

"It was unreal to see how a group that doesn't have the names could gel together and play as one. This is a proper unit, it was a proper team win."

South Africa, who won their previous series in West Indies last June, will next play test cricket when they tour New Zealand for two matches next month.

"We are by no means the finished article," Elgar says. "There are a lot of positives going into that series, but also a lot of negatives we need to hit on the head."