India secured an innings and 58-run win as they dismissed South Africa for 289 late in the final session on day five in the second Test.
So near yet so far. That was how the Test series ended for the Proteas in Kolkata.
It seemed that ton hero Hashim Amla and Morné Morkel were on their way to a miraculous fight at the death to salvage a draw and earn South Africa one of the greatest Test series victories on Indian soil. But their efforts were made in vain and their hopes dashed as Harbhajan Singh trapped Morkel in front for the final wicket.
The Proteas started the day trailing by 232 runs with seven wickets remaining. The goal was to bat the day out, the way England did against them twice in South Africa last month.
Amla and Ashwell Prince started the resistance with a 47-run partnership off 28 overs, but Prince fell victim to Singh, hitting one to Ishant Sharma.
The Proteas then suffered a collapse in the middle order as AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Dale Steyn lost their wickets in quick succession to the Indian spin attack of Singh and Amit Mishra.
Amla’s patient innings kept South Africa’s hopes alive but he needed a partner to support him at the wicket. Call up Wayne Parnell. The tail-ender did superbly to build a 70-run stand with Amla, but he threw away his wicket with a loose shot to mid-on.
Paul Harris was dismissed cheaply and with that, it seemed all hope was gone. But there was another side to the story as Morkel provided the backing Amla required.
The two batted through 21 overs as the sun started to set in Kolkata. It seemed that a draw was achievable with light in the sky fading, but Singh proved to be the hero as he claimed the wicket of Morkel to secure victory. Amla (127* of 499 balls) was left last man standing.
The result saw South Africa and India draw the Test series 1-1.
South Africa (first innings) 296
Hashim Amla 114, Alviro Petersen 100, Zaheer Kahn 4-90.
India (first innings) 643-6d
Virender Sehwag 165, VVS Laxman 143*, MS Dohni 132*, Morne Morkel 2/115.
South Africa (second innings) 289
Hashim Amla 127*, Ashwell Prince 23, Harbhajan Singh 5/59.
India won by an innings and 58 runs