Dec 21, 2013
India have gone into lunch at 358 for six on Day Four of the first Test against South Africa at Johannesburg. Resuming the day on 284 for two and 320 runs ahead, all eyes were on Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. However, India lost the duo, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane during the session and could only add 74 runs to their overnight tally.
India weren’t very free flowing today and their scoring rate was considerably slower than they were last evening. Pujara did start off well and struck two boundaries of Steyn through the off-side. He showed good control and saw the ball through well. One was played through fine leg as he opened the face of the bat and then the next was clattered through the covers with typical disdain.
However, South Africa had opted for the new ball and there was more bounce and movement in store. There were a few deliveries that just climbed on the batsmen and a few kept low. Pujara moved to his 150 quite comfortably and it looked like they were building a platform before taking the attack to the bowlers.
Throughout the innings, Pujara had laced the off-side with authoritative strokes. He tried doing the same once Jacques Kallis came into the attack, but only managed an edge to the wicketkeeper. Pujara returned to the pavilion amidst applause as he had put India in a commanding position.
The focus later shifted to Kohli as he neared his second ton of the game. He inched closer and on 96, he tried to shape back to JP Duminy and cut him through the vacant third-man region. However, he only managed to edge it and was dismissed agonisingly short of the milestone. The inconsistent bounce was on show earlier as Rohit Sharma was castled for six when a delivery from Kallis stayed low and bowled him.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni then joined Ajinkya Rahane. Together, they tried to up the ante with a few good strokes. The straight drives down the ground were good statements of intent as the Indian captain would have had one eye on the scoreboard to decide on the declaration.
Rahane was dismissed at the stroke of lunch as Duminy had him defending one. Instead, he edged it and was caught by Graeme Smith. India lead by 394 runs and would be eyeing that 400 mark after lunch.
India 280 (Virat Kohli 119, Ajinkya Rahane 47; Vernon Philander 4 for 61, Morne Morkel 3 for 34) and 358 for 6 (Cheteshwar Pujara 153, Virat Kohli 96; Vernon Philander 1 for 55, Jacques Kallis 3 for 68, JP Duminy 2 for 70) lead South Africa 244 (Graeme Smith 68, Vernon Philander 59; Zaheer Khan 4 for 88, Ishant Sharma 4 for 79, Mohammed Shami 2 for 48) by 394 runs.
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