SA v IND, 3rd Test: South Africa lose Markram and Elgar in pursuit of 212

IANS

SA v IND, 3rd Test: South Africa lose Markram and Elgar in pursuit of 212

Cape Town, January 13, 2022

South Africa lost Aiden Markram and then captain Dean Elgar as they reached 101/2 at stumps on day three of the third Test at the Newlands Cricket Ground on Thursday.

For the hosts, the impressive Keegan Petersen is unbeaten at 48 and they still need 111 runs to win the match.

Earlier, Rishabh Pant struck a high-quality century, his fourth in the format, as India set a 212-run target for South Africa.

South Africa began the chase well with Markram getting some streaky boundaries through the off-side off Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. Amid high chatter from the Indian team, Shami extracted the outer edge twice from Markram. The first one went for a boundary between gully and backward point. But on the very next ball, Markram again went for the loose pull and the outside edge flew to KL Rahul at third slip.

Petersen got off the mark with a well-timed off-drive through mid-off off Bumrah. He and Elgar oozed confidence while getting boundaries.

Ravichandran Ashwin had Elgar trapped lbw on his third over of the day. Elgar reviewed and ball-tracking showed that the ball would go over the stumps, surprising the Indian team.

Post this, Petersen played some great-quality shots, cutting Shardul Thakur through off-side, bringing his delightful backfoot punch off Bumrah and reverse sweeping and cutting Ashwin with ease. He then picked a boundary flying past diving Pant off Shami followed by a drive through off-side to take South Africa past 100.

Bumrah broke the 78-run partnership as Elgar was strangled down leg and Pant dived to his right to take the catch at the stroke of stumps.

Earlier, Pant mixed careful play and aggressiveness to eventually remain unbeaten on 100 as India were bowled out for 198 in 67.3 overs in the second innings.

Resuming from 51 at lunch, Pant slog-swept Keshav Maharaj and then stepped out to smash one over long-off for consecutive sixes. Virat Kohli's patient stay of 142 balls at the crease ended with him falling for the temptation of driving a wide outside the off-stump delivery. In a quest to score faster, Kohli gave a thick edge on the drive to a leaping Aiden Markram at second slip.

Ashwin was dropped by Markram at second slip off Ngidi. But the right-hander couldn't make full use of the reprieve, chasing a wide ball from Ngidi and slicing to Marco Jansen at gully. Shardul Thakur got off the mark with a cut through point but was drawn into the drive off Ngidi and nicked behind to keeper Kyle Verreynne.

Pant, quiet until then, smoked Duanne Olivier over wide long-on for a six and then hooked a short ball over square leg for a four to take India's lead closer to 200. But he was running out of partners from the other end as Umesh Yadav edged behind to Verreynne off Rabada.

Pant got a reprieve at 88 as Keshav Maharaj, charging in, couldn't hold on to the chance at backward point off Kagiso Rabada. Mohammed Shami looked to pull Jansen, but only managed to give a top-edge to Rassie van der Dussen near short leg. Pant hit flat to long-off, where Temba Bavuma dropped the catch and allowed the ball to go for a boundary.

Pant reached a well-deserved century with a pull through square leg off Jansen with every member of the Indian team applauding from the dressing room. Jansen ended the Indian innings by having Jasprit Bumrah give a catch to Bavuma at cover-point to pick his fourth wicket of the match.

Earlier, Pant had played a crucial role with Kohli to get India on track after a horror start to the day that saw them lose Cheteshwar Pujara on the second ball and then Ajinkya Rahane in the very next over.

Though Ngidi, Rabada and Jansen made some blows post-lunch, Pant ensured he hung around to take India's lead beyond 200.

Brief scores: India 223 in 77.3 overs and 198 in 67.3 overs (Rishabh Pant 100 not out, Virat Kohli 29; Marco Jansen 4/36, Lungi Ngidi 3/21) against South Africa in 76.3 overs and 101/2 in 29.4 overs (Keegan Petersen 48 not out, Dean Elgar 30; Mohammed Shami 1/22, Jasprit Bumrah 1/29), South Africa need 111 runs to win.

IANS

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