Cape Town, Jan 12 (IANS) Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara made it to stumps on day two of third Test against South Africa at Newlands Cricket Ground here on Wednesday. At stumps, India are 57/2 in 17 overs, leading by 70 runs. In a see-saw day, India took a narrow 13-run lead as the pace attack shot out South Africa for 210.
Jasprit Bumrah was the star with the ball, taking 5/42, his seventh five-wicket haul in Test cricket on a pitch which was aiding fast bowlers. Mohammed Shami (2/39), Umesh Yadav (2/64) and Shardul Thakur (1/37) were among the other wicket-takers for the tourists’. For South Africa, Keegan Petersen top-scored with a career-best 72.
With a lead of 13, India almost lost Mayank Agarwal in the third over of second innings. Agarwal was rapped on pads by a nip-backer from Kagiso Rabada but got to overturn the decision as replays showed the ball missing the stumps.
Agarwal then played a gorgeous straight drive down the ground but Rabada had the last laugh as he dragged the length back and with some away movement, forced Agarwal to play at it and outer edge went to Dean Elgar at first slip.
KL Rahul, who took two classy off-side boundaries off Duanne Olivier, was stuck at the crease and edged straight to Aiden Markram at second slip off Marco Jansen. Kohli and Pujara digged their heels in to put up an unbeaten stand of 33 to ensure India didn’t lose any other wicket till stumps arrived.
Earlier, Bumrah and Shami dealt crucial blows post-lunch to stop South Africa, then cruising at 112/3, from taking the lead. Rassie van der Dussen, who survived two run-out chances and an lbw appeal off Umesh Yadav, saw his charmed life at the crease ended with an outer edge while driving a full ball around off-stump from Yadav to Virat Kohli at second slip.
Petersen continued his impressive stay at the crease by raising his second Test half-century with a brace through square leg off Bumrah. Temba Bavuma got off to a good start, striking Yadav for two glorious boundaries on both sides of the wicket.
Bavuma got a reprieve at 17 as the outer edge on an attempted cut off Shardul Thakur was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip. For the catch, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant had dived as well but neither of them took the chance. Add to it, the ball hit the helmet behind Pant, giving South Africa five penalty runs.
Bavuma hit excellent off-side boundaries off Thakur and Shami to keep the run-rate moving. But on the very next ball, Shami broke the 47-run partnership as Bavuma tried to defend but the outer edge flew to Kohli diving to his left at second slip.
Two balls later, Shami had another wicket to his name as Kyle Verreynne poked at one outside the off-stump and Pant grabbed the catch diving to his left. Marco Jansen struggled against the short-ball barrage from Bumrah before seeing his off-stump sent on a cartwheel ride at the stroke of tea.
Bumrah took his fourth wicket of the innings, getting one to nip into Petersen, forcing the batter to play at it but the extra bounce took the shoulder edge to Pujara at first slip. Rabada threatened to reduce the deficit but holed out to Bumrah at long-off off Thakur. Bumrah completed his second five-wicket haul against South Africa by getting a leading edge off Lungi Ngidi to Ashwin at extra cover.
Earlier, Bumrah gave India an excellent start on the second ball of the day as Aiden Markram shouldered arms to a good length delivery coming in sharply from outside off and hit the top of off-stump.
Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj looked fluent while striking boundaries off Bumrah and Shami. He and Petersen managed to defy the Indian bowling attack by adding 28 runs for the third wicket till Yadav downed Maharaj’s middle stump with a scrambled seam delivery going through the gate.
After drinks break, Petersen began to get a move on, slashing Thakur through covers before surviving an lbw appeal on the very next ball. Petersen was elegant in driving Yadav through point before punching through the same area in the pacer’s next over. Petersen played the shot of the morning, slashing Thakur over third man and then flicked off pads through mid-wicket.
Against Ashwin, Petersen brought out the reverse sweep to keep the run-flow going. He then signed off from the session by punching Bumrah through point, where Mayank Agarwal made contact with the boundary hoarding while sliding.
Post that, the duo’s association ran to 67 runs until Shami and Bumrah brought India back into the match, eventually taking the lead and then stretching the lead to 70.
Brief scores: India 223 in 77.3 overs and 57/2 in 17 overs (Virat Kohli 79, KL Rahul 10; Kagiso Rabada 4/73) lead South Africa 210 all out in 76.3 overs (Keegan Petersen 72, Temba Bavuma 28; Jasprit Bumrah 5/42, Mohammed Shami 2/39) by 70 runs