South Africa are under the pump on a pitch offering plenty of help
South Africa 197 and 94 for 4 (Elgar 52*, Bumrah 2-22, Siraj 1-25) need a further 211 runs to beat India 327 and 174 (Pant 34, Rabada 4-42, Jansen 4-55)
Rassie van der Dussen was fairly organised in defence until the final exchanges when he shouldered arms to an inducker from Bumrah that clanked the top of off. Bumrah then yorked Keshav Maharaj, the nightwatchman, off what turned out to be the last ball of the day. Elgar, meanwhile, was unbeaten on 52 at stumps.
When the seamers erred too full or too straight, a switched-on Elgar put them away confidently with checked drives and flicks. One such flick, off Siraj, got him past fifty.
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Keegan Petersen clipped Shami through midwicket and caressed him down the ground for fours, but Siraj came on and bested him with a set-up of his own. After pinning Petersen just above the knee-roll with an inswinger – it was bouncing over the stumps – Siraj found the outside edge with an outswinger.
Elgar then got together with van der Dussen and briefly repelled India’s attack with a 40-run partnership for the third wicket. Bumrah, however, seized the day with his terrific double-strike.
In a rollicking passage of play, Pant advanced at Wiaan Mulder and swatted him over mid-off with one hand. He cracked Jansen over point and pulled Rabada to the midwicket boundary. However, when Pant walked at Rabada and aimed another pull, the quick benefited from a bit of extra bounce and had him flapping a catch to mid-on.
Ngidi could’ve had Cheteshwar Pujara on 4 had Rabada not shelled a fairly straightforward catch at midwicket. Pujara added 12 to his tally before Ngidi had him caught by the keeper down the leg side.
Jansen sliced through the middle order, removing both Virat Kohli (18) and Ajinkya Rahane (20). For the second time in the Test match, Kohli went searching for a ball that finished wider than a set of stumps outside off and edged a drive. As for Rahane, he motored along to 20 off 22 balls before holing out to deep square leg. Having taken Jansen for 4,6,4, including a hooked six in the 37th over, Rahane hooked again in Jansen’s next over, although half-heartedly, and couldn’t control it this time.
India’s lower order and then South Africa’s top order spiralled out of control during extended sessions. There’s forecast for some rain on the final day, but, despite that threat, India will fancy their chances of going 1-0 up.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo