'Lost for words': Proteas' Test 'win for the ages' stuns cricket world

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Pictured here, Dean Elgar celebrates after helping South Africa clinch a historic Test win over India.
Skipper Dean Elgar's dogged unbeaten innings of 96 helped South Africa clinch a historic Test win over India. Pic: Getty

South Africa batter Dean Elgar has produced one of the all-time captain's knocks to guide his side to a Test win over India regarded by many as one of the nation's finest ever.

Elgar belted a heroic unbeaten innings of 96 to lead his team to a seven-wicket victory over India in the second Test at the Wanderers.

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The Proteas skipper defied a hostile Indian attack and body blows from balls that struck him on a difficult pitch to deliver a battling, match-winning performance.

Opening the batting and chasing 240 runs for victory on day four, Elgar fittingly hit the winning runs with a boundary that left the home fans in raptures.

South Africa ended up on 3-243 near the end of a rain-restricted fourth day to level the series after India had won the first Test in Pretoria by 113 runs.

The decider will start in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"I would like to think the knocks I take make me extra motivated to perform," said the bruised captain Elgar, who wasn't the least concerned at just missing out on a deserved hundred.

"Some would call it stupid and some would call it brave. The bigger picture is for us to win and I wanted to show our young group that sometimes taking the blows can be worth it."

The home team were 2-118 overnight but had to wait as the first two sessions on Thursday were washed out by rain before Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen eventually resumed their run chase at 3.45pm local time under cloudy skies.

The outcome was still in the balance as the pitch was expected to favour the formidable India attack.

But the pair added 57 more runs in the first hour's play before van der Dussen edged Mohammed Shami to first slip and was out for 40.

Seen here, South Africa's Dean Elgar celebrates after scoring a half-century against India at Wanderers.
South Africa's Dean Elgar celebrates after scoring a half-century on the fourth day of the second Test against India at Wanderers. Pic: Getty

South Africa still needed 65 to win when the wicket fell and they ciud easily have slipped into trouble had Shardul Thakur held onto a catch when new batsman Temba Bavuma hit the second ball he faced straight back at the bowler.

Thakur was unable to hold onto a stinging shot, and Bavuma went on to make full use of his good fortune to finish 23 not out.

Proteas pull off famous Test win over India

But Elgar was the hero, showing a dogged fighting spirit and leading by example to hand his young team an important and morale-boosting win. He faced 188 balls, hitting 10 boundaries.

"I felt we could have scored 60 or so more runs in the first innings and given ourselves a bit of a lead. That's really where we let the game slip," said India's stand-in skipper KL Rahul.

It was the first time South Africa had beaten India at the Wanderers and keeps alive their hopes of denying the world's top-ranked team a first-ever series victory in South Africa.

Former South Africa captain and current director of cricket Graeme Smith described it as one of the side's "greatest Test wins" and his sentiments were echoed across the cricket world.

with AAP

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