Paarl - South Africa's coach Mark Boucher may be at the centre of racial storm after being charged by Cricket SA for "improper conduct" this week, but his team has certainly rediscovered the art of winning.
It remains anyone's guess to whether Boucher will survive the inquest which will headed by Senior Counsel Advocate Terry Motau. Until that stage though he will have the opportunity of savouring a rare home "double" over India after the Proteas clinched the ODI series here at a steaming Boland Park.
It was the openers Quinton de Kock (78) and Janneman Malan (91) that set up a comfortable run chase with the pair posting a 132-run stand in just 22 overs.
De Kock benefited from a reprieve when India's top-scorer Rishabh Pant missed a regulation stumping early on, but from thereon the Proteas stylist reminded everyone of his dynamism at the crease.
He immediately slog-swept the next ball for six over mid-wicket - one of his three maximums on the day - and continued to play with all the freedom that has been lacking throughout the summer.
It was actually evident from early on already when De Kock greeted Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six and two boundaries in his first over.
With De Kock in such a rampant mood there was no need for his partner Malan to take any undue risks. The now local Paarl boy was content to play second fiddle and brought up a timely half-century in 66 balls. In contrast De Kock required 30 balls less for his milestone.
It was only after De Kock's dismissal for 78 when he missed a full toss from Shardul Thakur that Malan begun to express himself a bit more.
This included a delightful drive on the up that sped to the boundary in a flash. The only pity in this near faultless innings was that it did not culminate in three figures with Malan eventually departing for 91.
Although captain Temba Bavuma (35) fell just two runs later to leave South Africa still requiring 74 runs for victory with seven wickets remaining, there was no need for concern with Aiden Markram (37 not out) and Rassie van der Dussen (37 not out) comfortably closing out the series.
Quinton de Kock - The new king of the leg-side stumping 👏— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) January 21, 2022
For the second time in this series, he completes a leg-side stumping off Andile Phehlukwayo’s bowling. Those hand! 🔥
📺 Stream #SAvIND live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/NpjWQdSHzd
Earlier, South Africa's bowlers had put in a solid shift to ensure India never really got away despite some shoddy catching from the hosts on occasion.
India's captain KL Rahul benefitted timeously to post a solid 55, while Rishabh Pant thrilled with a 71-ball 85.
However, they needed a much more substantial innings from their set batters especially after former captain Virat Kohli disappointed with a duck.
Ultimately, South Africa seemed to be the side that wanted this victory more and will now head to Newlands for a dead-rubber with renewed confidence flowing through their veins.
Under any normal circumstances it would be a time to rejoice, but unfortunately there remains a bitter taste with the dark cloud hanging over Boucher.
India: 287/6 (R Pant 85, KL Rahul 55, Thakur 40*, Shamsi 2/57, Markram 1/34)
South Africa: 288/3 (Malan 91, De Kock 78, Thakur 1/35, Bumrah 1/37)