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Ravindra Jadeja celebrated his first Test appearance in over a year with a five-wicket second-innings haul as India drew first blood in their series with South Africa in Mohali.
Jadeja, who had not played in the longest format since last August, took five for 21, including the prize wicket of Proteas captain Hashim Amla, as the hosts won by 108 runs inside three days.
Victory was Virat Kohli's first as Indian Test skipper on home soil after South Africa failed their spin test, bowled out for 109 in their pursuit of 218 on a track that offered plenty for the slow bowlers of both sides.
India had earlier appeared on course to post a more substantial target but Kohli's wicket - the first of 18 to fall in the day - precipitated a dramatic collapse from 161 for two to 200 all out.
Overnight pair Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli survived a couple of scares, with the Proteas keeping the run-scoring in check despite Dale Steyn being unable to take to the field once again with a groin injury.
Yet it was the unlikely figure of Stiaan van Zyl who made the breakthrough as Kohli tickled to Dane Vilas, stood up to the stumps, to depart for 29.
Imran Tahir struck first ball to account for Pujara, who was pouched low at slip by Amla to end an important knock of 77, while India lost their third wicket in 17 balls when Ajinkya Rahane inside edged Simon Harmer to short-leg.
Harmer pinned Jadeja in front for eight and was gifted a third wicket in his next over when Amit Mishra top-edged a sweep to Faf du Plessis at deep backward square-leg.
Tahir and Amla combined once again to send Ashwin back to the hutch on the stroke of lunch, while Umesh Yadav elbowed a Harmer delivery onto his stumps after missing a big heave across the line.
Wriddhiman Saha added a useful 20, but was last man out when he gloved through to Vilas while attempting to leave Tahir, who finished as the pick of the bowlers with four for 48.
Despite blowing through India's order, South Africa's victory target of 218 would still require a their highest successful fourth innings run chase in Asia.
But they got off to an inauspicious start when surprise opener Vernon Philander, who had never previously batted higher than seven in Tests, departed lbw in the second over to Jadeja's first delivery.
Du Plessis lasted just six balls before he fell to Ashwin, who found the edge coming from round the wicket, while the Proteas slipped to 10 for three when Amla was castled after leaving a straight one from Jadeja.
Their hopes appeared to recede even further when AB de Villiers, who had appeared in good touch for his 16, was bowled for the second time in the match by leg-spinner Mishra, while opener Dean Elgar and Vilas were snared cheaply.
Van Zyl, moved down the order after opening in the first innings, and Harmer put on 42 to take South Africa into three figures but the latter gave Jadeja his fourth wicket after edging to slip.
Van Zyl's resistance was ended for 36 after he edged to slip off Ashwin and the spinner then dismissed Steyn, who was fit enough to bat but contributed just two before holing out to long-on.
Jadeja then wrapped up the match and his third Test five-for when he rapped Tahir full on the boot as India went 1-0 up in the four-match series.