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India lags behind, but so does South Africa

by Afonso
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Did the last ball of the day give an idea about the course of the next day?

In the last session the ball was going low at times. The last ball bounced suddenly, the brilliant Krishnar took it to Dean Elgar. Elgar also got pain. It is this uneven bounce of the ball that will worry South Africa. Such an uneven bounce on the second day, how difficult will South Africa’s challenge be if they bat in the fourth innings in this Test!

But that challenge might be a little easier if South Africa don’t have to chase a big target in the fourth innings. At the end of the second day, South Africa is far ahead in that direction. Lokesh Rahul’s brilliant century at the start of the day saw India score 245 before being bowled out, but Dean Elgar’s unbeaten 140 saw South Africa end the day ahead of India by 11 runs, with five wickets in hand.

Why have to say separately on paper? South Africa end the day at 256 for 5, but whether they get four more batsmen or five will depend on whether Temba Bavuma can shake off injury and return to bat.

India, however, ended the day with an upset. The game ended long ago due to rain the day before, today the game ended early due to lack of light. With the condition of the pitch, India might have wanted to start the day with a new tomorrow. But as the game ended earlier, India will have to bowl with an hour old ball at the beginning of tomorrow.

Whether South Africa can take advantage of that, or how much, will depend on Elgar. Aiden Markram returned with a catch behind the wicket after Siraj got 11 runs on the scoreboard after batting, then Elgar made a great partnership of 93 runs with Ton de George for the second wicket. His fifty came off 79 balls, shortly after which South Africa crossed the 100 mark. But then Bumrah’s double blow.

Bumrah forced Day Georgie (28) to be caught at third slip in the last ball of the 29th over, and bowled Keegan Pietersen (2) again in the 31st over. But it was Elgar who poured water on India’s sudden awakening. A huge partnership of 131 runs was made with David Bedingham (56) for the fourth wicket. In that one pair, South Africa’s score was almost equal to India!

There was a tea break, before and after India died. Elgar (19 fours) scored his 140th ball century shortly after South Africa crossed one and a half hundred. Then South Africa crossed 200….

Finally Siraj broke the pair in the 61st over. Bedingham had been playing the shorter length ball with ease until then, Siraj’s full length ball went in after hitting the pitch. Bold Bedingham.

Prasidh Krishna also returned Kyle Vereina before the end of the day’s play, Marco Jansen (3*) was at the crease with Elgar at the end of the day. But it was Elgar who kept India mainly worried.

Earlier in the day, India’s centurion Lokesh Rahul was a major part of South Africa’s plan. With 2 wickets in hand, India started the day with 208 runs on the scoreboard. It was Rahul, who started the day with 70, who hoped to boost their score.

It was Rahul who played against Siraj, who had not got any runs despite coming to the crease the previous day. Two years ago this centurion scored a century in the Boxing Day Test, today is another milestone for Rahul. The day’s play got off to a late start due to rain, after which Siraj survived with three reviews in all the batting he got. Meanwhile, at the other end, Rahul basically kept the strike to himself and picked up the runs.

Earlier in the day, he basically scored four-sixes, he did the same today. Finally reached the century in 133 balls, including 14 fours and 4 sixes. But after the century, Rahul (101) was bowled by Burger, India’s innings ended there.


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