batters, led by their gutsy skipper , dug their heels in to succeed in inside 122 runs of a in opposition to a decided India because the second Take a look at appeared poised for a gripping fourth day end in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Elgar (46 batting off 121 balls) took some nasty blows off deliveries that spat off the cracks however stored his staff on the right track at 118 for two in pursuit of a tough 240-run goal set by India within the wake of a stable century-plus partnership from the under-fire duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
Shardul Thakur (1/21), who’s in the course of an important Take a look at match, bought his eighth sufferer of the sport in an over throughout which the ball seamed, bounced and stored low from the identical spot with the final one discovering opener Aiden Markram’s (31) pads.
Keegan Petersen (28) added 46 along with his skipper earlier than Ravichandran Ashwin (1/14) bought one to float and switch getting a leg earlier than resolution going his approach.
Nonetheless, like each new innings on this recreation the place heavy curler has made batting simpler by ironing out the divots on the nice size spots, Elgar was able to play the ugly recreation placing his physique on the road, getting hit on knuckles, chest, shoulder and even on head prompting a fast on-field concussion take a look at.
Whereas South Africa will that they’ve half a foot by means of the victory door, there was quite a few situations within the sequence the place a batting collapse has modified the course of the sport.
There are two issues that might preserve India anxious going into the fourth day.
On this Take a look at, the batting situations have improved because the match has progressed — 202, 229, 266 — and secondly, Mohammed Siraj is much from match and bowled solely 4 out of the 40 overs despatched down until now.
The Indian staff, in its thoughts, is aware of that it’s a bowler quick.
Whereas 240 as a goal is greater than first rate, India may have pushed it a bit extra had Rishabh Pant’s poor shot choice, that incurred legendary Sunil Gavaskar’s wrath within the commentary field, not occurred on the most inopportune of moments.
Having been hit by a Kagiso Rabada bouncer, Pant charged to a different quick ball like a raging bull solely to be caught behind that prompted Gavaskar to query his sense of “duty” urging for the “nonsense” in garb of pure recreation” to cease.
However it was a day when India’s center order lastly got here good by means of combative half-centuries from Pujara and Rahane.
Pujara (53 off 86 balls) and Rahane (58 off 78 balls) gave recent lease of life to their respective careers with well timed knocks whereas Hanuma Vihari (40 not out) additionally performed a vital half in swelling India’s total lead as they completed their second innings at 266.
Kagiso Rabada (20-3-77-3) was inspirational within the last half-an-hour earlier than lunch as he introduced his staff again with fast dismissals.
Marco Jansen (17-4-67-3) and Lungi Ngidi (10.1-1-43-3) additionally performed their elements to perfection.
The Indian middle-order, which has flattered to deceive on most events previously couple of years, did its job and in addition bought some a lot wanted late-order help from Shardul Thakur (28).
Pujara and Rahane, in a not often seen counter-attacking mode, added 111 runs in simply 23.2 overs, getting some respiratory area for themselves.
Having understood that point is certainly operating out for them, each the batters determined to not try to hold round as they seemed for scoring alternatives.
The half volleys had been pushed imperiously and the width was dispatched disdainfully sq. off the wicket.
When Jansen bowled one quick, Rahane uncorked the slash over level for a six. Pujara’s 50 got here off 62 balls whereas Rahane’s half-century was accomplished in 67, signalling that they had been attempting to point out ‘intent’ and put staff’s curiosity above all the things else.
They hit 18 fours and a six between them.
There was a time when India had been 155 for 2 with a lead of 128 and it appeared that South Africa’s propensity to bowl too quick or too full was proving to be damaging.
However then Rabada, South Africa’s finest exponent of quick bowling since Dale Steyn, produced an impressed present that’s so synonymous with the normal format.
Rabada discovered that supreme again of size and it landed on the crack to deviate sharply, taking Rahane’s edge into keeper Kyle Verreynne’s gloves.
Pujara then bought one from Rabada within the off-stump channel to be plumb in entrance regardless of lunging far ahead.
Nonetheless, the person who disenchanted every person was Pant, who first bought a snorter from Rabada that hit his helmet viser when he tried to defend awkwardly, after which he charged to transform a brief ball right into a half volley. The consequence was an edge to keeper.
It was Vihari and Shardul, who had been concerned in a 41-run stand for the seventh wicket after which had two little however enormously vital stands of 17 and 21 respectively with tailenders Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj to arrange a very good chase for the Proteas. PTI KHS PM PM
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