Proteas have backs to the wall

SA bowlers will have to come to the party after India emerge with solid lead at end of day three in first Test

Kagiso Rabada of SA, left, congratulates Lungi Ngidi on taking his fifth wicket of six against India during day three of the first Test at SuperSport Park on in Centurion on Tuesday
WELL DONE: Kagiso Rabada of SA, left, congratulates Lungi Ngidi on taking his fifth wicket of six against India during day three of the first Test at SuperSport Park on in Centurion on Tuesday
Image: GALLO IMAGES

After two completed days of Test cricket, India have maintained the upper hand over their hosts SA in the intriguing Boxing Day Test that is unfolding at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

At the end of day three, where a staggering 18 wickets fell on Tuesday, India were sitting on 16/1 in their second innings and a solid lead of 146 runs to show for their troubles.

Importantly for coach Rahul Dravid and captain Virat Kohli, they lost only the wicket of Mayank Agarwal (4), who was caught by Quinton de Kock from the bowling of Marco Jansen during the late stages of the third session.

They will resume with opener KL Rahul on 5 and Shardul Thakur on 4 and looking to lay a solid foundation for possible victory that will give them a 1-0 lead in this three-match series.

India will be comforted by the fact that they still have capable top-order batters in Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Kohli, Rishabh Pant in the bank.

If there is no declaration on Wednesday, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Jansen, Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj will also have to deal with Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

India ended their first innings on 327, with Rahul scoring his seventh century (123) and Agarwal (60) and Ajinkya Rahane (48) the other notable contributors to the scoreboard.

Ngidi was the star man with ball in hand as he returned with a six-wicket haul, while Rabada claimed three of his own and debutant Jansen took the other one.

In reply, the Proteas were bowled out for 197 and still trailing by 130, with Temba Bavuma (52) and Rabada (25) the only notable scorers as the familiar top-order collapse reared its ugly head again.

For India with the ball, Shami was their top bowling performer as he claimed five wickets, with Thakur and Bumrah taking two each and Siraj claiming the other.

The Proteas’ first-innings batting performance exposed familiar problems as there was only one notable partnership, of 72 between Bavuma and De Kock.

The top order once again failed to come to the party as the top four batters, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen put up 32 runs between them.

Bavuma and De Kock, who came on at number five and six, were the only notable contributors to the scoreboard with respective scores of 52 and 34 in the middle.

With the batters having failed to cover themselves in glory, it is largely up to Rabada, Ngidi, Jansen, Mulder and Maharaj to try to restrict India from running away with this match on day four. — TimesLIVE

 

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