Sting in the tail

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-10-13 10:26:00

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Pune, October 12

South Africa tailenders Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander put up a gutsy fight against a quality bowling attack but could not stop India from taking a massive 326-run lead on the third day of the second Test.

South Africa’s 275 in 105.4 overs seems paltry in comparison to India’s 601/5, but by adding 109 runs for the ninth wicket, Maharaj (72) and Philander (44 not out) put their own top-order to shame.

The visitors were bowled out on what turned out to be the last ball of the day, and the moot question is whether Virat Kohli would make them follow-on. Ravichandran Ashwin, asked about this, said: “I think the captain will decide overnight on what he should be doing.”

Good fight

Maharaj and Philander ducked the bouncers, defended doggedly and attacked the loose deliveries as the Indian bowling attack suddenly lacked answers in the day’s final session. Joining forces at 162/8, Maharaj-Philander not only boosted the score, they also consumed 43.1 overs, which means India would have fewer overs to bowl them out a second time. Ashwin, who had the best figures for India with 4/69, praised Maharaj and Philander. “I think the myth of tailenders is over-stated and when he (a tailender) bats well, he bats well,” he said. The pitch has shown not much sign of wear and tear, but nothing can be taken away from Philander, whose defensive technique against Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (1/81) was laudable. Maharaj hit 12 boundaries, even as he looked in pain as he rubbed his shoulder, which he hurt yesterday as he dived to field. Maharaj was finally caught at leg slip by Rohit Sharma off Ashwin, after a satisfying day in office.

Fightback

Earlier, the highlights of the morning session were Mohammed Shami’s hostile first spell and an acrobatic catch from Wriddhiman Saha. Shami got the semi-new ball to dart back in after pitching while Umesh Yadav focused on bowling outswingers. Shami got deliveries to rear up from a length, and nightwatchman Anrich Nortje was caught by Kohli off one such ball. Theunis de Bruyn (30) hit a couple of cover drives but it was a moment of inspiration from Saha that brought about his end. Trying an expansive drive off Yadav, de Bruyn edged the ball towards first slip, and Saha dived and plucked the ball out of thin air, leaving South Africa tottering at 53/5. South Africa’s most experienced pair of skipper Faf du Plessis (64) and Quinton de Kock (31) tried to resurrect the innings with a quick stand of 75 but Ashwin removed the latter before lunch. — PTI

Numbers game

109 Run stand for the ninth wicket between Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander, South Africa’s third-highest in the series. Both the batsman individually faced more balls than top-5 combined

4TH Indian — Ashwin — to take 50 wickets against the Proteas in Tests after Anil Kumble (84), Harbhajan Singh (64) and Javagal Srinath (60)

326 Runs lead for India on Day 3 with an option of enforcing the follow-on on the visitors

Scoreboard

India 1st inn 601/5 Decl
S Africa 1st inn (Overnight 36/3)
D Elgar b Yadav6
A Markram lbw b Yadav0
T de Bruyn c Saha b Yadav30
T Bavuma c Saha b Shami8
A Nortje c Kohli b Shami3
F du Plessis c Rahane b Ashwin64
Q de Kock b Ashwin31
S Muthusamy lbw b Jadeja7
V Philander not out44
K Maharaj c R Sharma b Ashwin72
K Rabada lbw b Ashwin2
Extras: (lb-8)8
Total: (All out, 105.4 overs)275
FoW: 1-2, 2-13, 3-33, 3-33, 4-41, 5-53, 6-128, 7-139, 8-162, 9-271

Bowling
Ishant Sharma10-1-36-0
Umesh Yadav13-2-37-3
Ravindra Jadeja36-15-81-1
Mohammed Shami17-3-44-2
Ravichandran Ashwin28.4-9-69-4
Rohit Sharma1-1-0-0

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