Captain Virat Kohli looked frustrated and so did his teammates at the end of another enthralling day’s play of cricket in Cape Town as the Test series might be slowly but surely been slipping away from India’s grasp. Despite a terrific lone warrior’s effort from Rishabh Pant on Day 3 of the 3rd Test, India are in danger of returning home empty-handed from the Rainbow Nation.
India have never won a Test series in South Africa and it might well stay that way after Friday’s action at Newlands as Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen helped the hosts finish Day 3 of the cracking series decider in a commanding position.
India got the big wicket to Dean Elgar with the final delivery on Thursday but Keegan Petersen remained unbeaten on 48 as South Africa headed to Stumps on Day 3 at 101/2. They need 111 more to win the Cape Town Test and wrap up a stunning comeback from behind victory in the series.
The wicket of Elgar should give India hopes but the visitors need a Herculean effort as South Africa are riding high on confidence after having successfully chased 240 with 7 wickets to spare in Johannesburg a week ago.
Keegan Petersen will look to continue his glorious form even as Virat Kohli’s men need a special bowling effort to defend 111 on Day 4.
INDIA LOSE FOCUS AMID STUMP MIC CHATTER
India tried their everything to break the stand between Elgar and Petersen but the two South Africa batters showcased guts and grit as they kept out a hungry Indian bowling attack in the final session after Mohammed Shami got the wicket of Aiden Markram early.
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The pacers bowled their heart out, R Ashwin was testing the edges and even the substitutes chipped in with “synchronized clapping” but Elgar and Petersen frustrated India with a 78-run stand that could well be defining in terms of the 3rd Test and the series.
Virat Kohli kept ranting on the stump mic after an LBW decision in R Ashwin’s over against Dean Elgar was overturned by the third umpire. It looked like India lost discipline and concentration after Elgar’s escape towards the end of the day’s play as South Africa collected quick runs, pouncing on India’s frequent mistakes.
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) January 13, 2022
PANT 100* LIFTS INDIA DESPITE SENIOR PROS FAIL
Earlier in the day, India came up with another ordinary batting show only to be rescued by Rishabh Pant’s spectacular hundred that helped India push their 2nd innings lead past 200. Pant remained unbeaten on 100 after running out of partners as he became the first Indian wicketkeeper to hit a Test hundred in South Africa.
While Pant remained unbeaten on 100, the next best score from the Indian camp was Virat Kohli’s patient 29 from 143 balls. Senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara might not play the next Test for India as they seem to have run out of chances.
India were jolted early in the day as Pujara (9) and Rahane (1) fell in successive overs, leaving India reeling at 56 for 4.
However, with Kohli playing second fiddle and Pant displaying controlled aggression, India had a 94-run stand for the 5th wicket.
However, after Kohli fell while chasing a wide delivery from Lungi Ngidi, India’s lower middle-order was blown away with R Ashwin and Shardul Thakur failing to trouble the scorers much.
Rishabh Pant hung in and batted wonderfully well with the tail as he hit 4 sixes and 6 boundaries for his 100 not out in just 139 deliveries. The young wicketkeeper proved his critics wrong once again as he was criticized for throwing his wicket away in India’s Johannesburg defeat last week.