India managed to thwart a stubborn resistance from South Africa's Hashim Amla and the tailenders to clinch a series-levelling innings and 58 runs victory in the final cricket Test to retain their status as the number one Test team in Kolkata on Thursday.
The hosts, who needed to pick up the remaining seven wickets to draw the series 1-1, were made to wait till the
very fag end of a dramatic fifth day's play for their moment of glory with Hashim Amla nearly carrying the proteas to
safety with a defiant unbeaten 127.
Resuming at 115 for three after conceding a mammoth 347-run first innings lead, the South Africans were all out
for 289 with just 15 minutes remaining on a nail-biting last day.
Spinners Harbhajan Singh (5/59) and Amit Mishra (3/84) were the wreckers-in-chief as they ripped through the South
African middle order but it was the stout resistance from Amla and the tailenders which delayed the victory.
It was a remarkable effort by Amla who not only notched up his 10th Test ton but showed amazing temparament and skill
to negotiate the Indian bowlers on a fifth day Eden Gardens track and very nearly saved the game for his team.
After the tea break, the Indians were literally racing against time to dismiss the last three wickets in the tense
post-tea session and the injury-induced absence of Zaheer Khan did have a bearing.