It was a day of many stories, but one that will be talked about for many years will be the spell from Shardul Thakur. He returned with figures of 7/61, the best by a visiting bowler in the ground, equalling Matthew Hoggard’s 7/61 in 2004/05. South Africa did take a slender first-innings lead, but
Keegan Petersen and Dean Elgar picked up things from where they left them the other day. They remained solid, didn’t let the Indian bowlers get on top of them, and kept leaving the ball very well. Indian fast bowlers missed the trick by not making them react to the ball as they kept missing their lines. It allowed the batters to mount a partnership, not very huge in number but was pretty lion-hearted.
Petersen, who played some delightful cricket in all three innings he batted in the series, finally got a reasonable score and reached his first half-century.
Just as the fans were wondering why Shardul Thakur had not popped into the scene yet, KL Rahul finally went to the Mumbai pacer after Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were proving to be ineffective. Mohammed Siraj, who picked up a hamstring injury, was walking around a bit gingerly and his tempo was very much down.
A wicket was desperately needed, and Thakur gave them that breakthrough. After a 74-run stand between the South African skipper and Petersen, the former finally managed to poke an edge after plenty of deliveries went past the edge today and yesterday. Rishabh Pant completed a simple catch, and that got the train running for the Indians.
A couple of overs later, Thakur got rid of Petersen after he hit 62 off 118 deliveries, and backed it with a slightly controversial dismissal of Rassie van der Dussen. It seemed like Rishabh Pant grassed the catch behind the wickets, but the third umpire did not consider the evidence to be conclusive.
Kyle Verreyne, who averages over 50 in First-class cricket, was desperate to make his mark in this innings and got some vital runs alongside Temba Bavuma. Bavuma took his time to settle in, and then launched an aggressive attack on the Indian bowlers. The duo added 60 runs for the fifth wicket before Thakur dismissed Verreyne.
Bavuma completed a fifty in double quick time with some vital boundaries but was dismissed immediately after reaching the landmark by the same man, Thakur, again. Mohammed Shami then dismissed Kagiso Rabada as softly as he could’ve, with the fast bowling gently looping it to short mid-on for a simple catch.
Keshav Maharaj and Marco Jansen ensured South Africa got the lead towards the end of their innings, with Maharaj slicing a few boundaries. Bumrah got rid of Maharaj before Shardul Thakur completed the formalities, registering 7 wickets in the innings whilst Mohammed Shami returned with 2.
Batters build on Shardul Thakur’s good work and finish the day on a high
Mayank Agarwal, just the way he did in the first innings, got off to a quick start. But the Indian openers couldn’t stick around for far too long as the aggressive approach from both sides got the game wide open. Skipper KL Rahul fell prey to a beautiful delivery from Marco Jansen, edging it to Aiden Markram in the slip cordon.
Mayank Agarwal, just as he was starting to look solid in the middle, left an incoming delivery from Duanne Olivier and it wrapped on his pads. Although the impact was outside off, the ball was crashing into the stumps and the on-field batters did not bother to go for a referral.
There was a little panic in the Indian dressing room at 44/2, but Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s counter-attacking finish to the day helped India get 85 runs at stumps at a scoring run rate above 4. Pujara is batting on 35 off just 42 deliveries, whilst Rahane is supporting him with 11 runs.
India 1st innings: 202 all out in 63.1 overs (KL Rahul 50, Ravi Ashwin 46; Marco Jansen 4/31, Duanne Olivier 3/64, Kagiso Rabada 3/64)
South Africa 1st innings: 229 all out in 79.4 overs (Keegan Petersen 62, Temba Bavuma 51; Shardul Thakur 7/61)
India 2nd innings: 85/2 in 20 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 35*)
India lead by 58 runs
South Africa trail by 167 runs