NAGPUR: Captain Virat Kohli said there were no demons in the pitch after his India team beat South Africa inside three days for the second time in the series to take a winning 2-0 lead in the four-match contest on Friday.

In a repeat of the opening game in Mohali, India wrapped up victory in the third Test at Nagpur’s VCA Stadium with more than two days to spare after their spinners claimed all 20 South African wickets.

India opener Murali Vijay’s first-innings 40 was the highest individual score in the match but Kohli believed there was nothing wrong with a track that saw 40 wickets tumble in three days.

“It’s a challenging wicket definitely,” he told reporters after the 124-run triumph against the world’s top-ranked test side also secured his first home series win as captain.

“It’s all about application I guess, you’ve just got to take it in your stride and prepare accordingly … no excuses.

“Throughout the series you would have five to six good balls. Other than that it’s been mental blocks or bad shots from the batsmen,” added Kohli.

India’s victory ended South Africa’s nine-year run of not losing an away series and visiting captain Hashim Amla felt the pitches played a crucial role.

“The wickets were a lot more challenging,” said Amla who added 72 for the fifth wicket with Faf du Plessis before his team were bowled out for 185.

“When I first came to India in 2008 and then in 2010 I was facing (spinners) Anil Kumble and Harbhajan (Singh). If I had to face them on a wicket like this I don’t think I would have got any runs.”

Amla has endured a poor series with the bat, scoring 90 in five innings.

Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the India bowlers, claiming 12 of the 20 wickets in Nagpur, and the off-spinner said Amla and du Plessis proved the pitch was far from unplayable.

“They showed that batting was not impossible,” Ashwin said after collecting the man-of-the-match award and taking his series-leading haul to 24 scalps.


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