South Africa 121 (De Villiers 42, Jadeja 5-30) trail India 334 (Rahane 127, Ashwin 56, Abbott 5-40, Piedt 4-117) by 213 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa followed defeat on a spin-friendly Mohali pitch with a batting failure on a normal Indian pitch in Bangalore. The pattern has repeated itself: Nagpur was treacherous to batsmen, Delhi offered close to 50-50 balance between bat and ball, but there was no change in South Africa's batting fortunes.
Responding to India's 334, they were bowled out for 121, 14 short of the follow-on mark. Play was called off for bad light soon after South Africa lost their final wicket, but only after India had confirmed they weren't going to make the visitors bat again.
The state of the match reflected how well India bowled as a unit, but also how poorly South Africa played. There was surely a psychological element to it, amply displayed in the dismissal of Faf du Plessis, who has had a horror tour. In Bangalore, he was out jumping down the pitch, premeditatedly, to the third ball he faced. Here, he attempted a lap-sweep off the second ball he faced and only managed to spoon the ball into the leg-slip region. Ajinkya Rahane had enough time to sprint across from slip and complete the catch. Whatever the conditions are, it must be hard to bat normally when you are an out-of-form batsman on the losing side at the tail-end of a long tour.
At tea, South Africa had been in a fairly decent position, 38 for 1. But they crumbled, as touring sides in India often do, in the final session, losing nine wickets for 83 runs. Most of the wickets were the result of poor footwork or judgment of length. Temba Bavuma and Hashim Amla were out cutting deliveries from Ravindra Jadeja that weren't short enough. JP Duminy and Dane Vilas were bowled by reverse-swinging deliveries with feet pinned to the crease.
But those two wickets - Umesh Yadav straightening one past Duminy's outside edge and Ishant Sharma bending one in between Vilas' bat and pad - also had a lot to do with the perfect length India's seamers bowled, and their ability to generate early reverse. As early as the 15th over, in fact, when Umesh broke South Africa's biggest opening stand of the series - 36 - by swinging one away from Dean Elgar to find the left-hander's outside edge from around the wicket.
The seamers took a little time finding their rhythm, with Ishant slanting the ball too wide to make Elgar play early on and Umesh drifting onto the openers' pads a couple of times in his first spell, but once they did, they were pinpoint accurate, attacking the stumps relentlessly.
R Ashwin bowled as he has right through the series, even if he didn't make the key breakthroughs for once. Jadeja used the crease and mixed up his release points - his arm slightly higher for one ball, more round-arm for the next - to keep the batsmen guessing in conditions that weren't too difficult as long as you looked to play straight.
Of all the South African batsmen, only AB de Villiers followed this maxim. While the rest fell around him, he just batted normally. But the situation prompted him to take a few risks, and Ishant's judgment on the boundary rope was spot-on. De Villiers came down the track and looked to hit Jadeja over long-off. The bat spun in his hand so the ball landed in Ishant's rather than beyond him and over the rope. Just like that, Jadeja had his fourth five-wicket haul in Tests.
The pace and tenor of South Africa's innings was in stark contrast to India's in the morning, when Ajinkya Rahane made the first century of the series, played its longest innings, and put on, with Ashwin, its highest partnership, of 98. Eventually, India stretched their total to 334 before Kyle Abbott ended their innings in the fifth over after lunch.
Abbott, who had pounded in, attacked the stumps, and been relentlessly accurate all through the innings, finished with figures of 5 for 40 in 24.5 overs.
South Africa took the second new ball at the start of play, in the 85th over of India's innings. There was less movement for Morne Morkel and Abbott than there had been with the first new ball, and definitely less inconsistent bounce. A few stopped on the batsmen, but there was not much else to worry about from the surface. South Africa could have struck early nonetheless, when Ashwin nicked Abbott to slip, only for Hashim Amla put down his third catch of the game. It was a harder chance than the first two, the ball dying on him and giving the umpires cause to think he may have grabbed it just before it hit the turf, but replays confirmed he had spilled it and picked it up again on the half-volley.
That apart, South Africa struggled to break the partnership. Ashwin, who had made a cautious start on the first afternoon, grew in confidence, and began timing his flicks and back-foot punches off the seamers. India reached their 250 in the ninth over of the morning, and Rahane, who began the day on 89, reached his hundred in the next over, getting there with a cracking boundary, a punch down the ground off Abbott.
The spinners came on after that, and Rahane went after them, skipping nimbly down the track to hit two sixes in three balls off Dane Piedt - one over cow corner, the other over long-off. He used his feet to Dean Elgar as well, lifting him for a clean, one-bounce four over extra cover, and was looking unstoppable when he failed to get the desired elevation with another lofted drive and picked out the cover fielder off Imran Tahir.
It was Tahir's first wicket, in only his tenth over. It was the 105th over of the Indian innings, reflecting both how erratic Tahir had been and how little faith Amla had shown in him to turn his performance around.
The wicket didn't stall India's progress. On the contrary, Ashwin grew more aggressive, farming the strike and playing his shots at every opportunity. In the eight overs between Rahane's dismissal and lunch, he struck three fours and a straight six off Tahir that brought up his half-century.