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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 20, 2013
South Africa have been bowled out for 244 on Day Three of the first Test against India at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. As a result, India have taken a lead of 36 runs. South Africa were in good shape, until Ishant Sharma rattled them with an inspired spell on Day Two. It was due to Vernon Philander‘s effort that they went on to come close to the Indian total.
Early on Day Two, South Africa wrapped India up quickly and bundled them out for 280. The tourists had only added 25 runs from their overnight score. Openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen started decently well as they countered a hostile spell by Zaheer Khan early on. Zaheer troubled Smith in particular as he troubled him with deliveries outside the off-stump.
However, Ishant was the first to breakthrough as Petersen was trapped leg-before. Hashim Amla was then welcomed with a barrage of short deliveries, but he fought hard to survive. Smith continued to be tested by Zaheer as the ball went past his outside edge numerous times. Smith finally chased one and the ball went low to Ravichandran Ashwin at first-slip, but he couldn’t hold on. Smith was only on 19 then.
While the Indian pacers continued to trouble the South African batsmen, Amla and Smith battled on and then essayed their strokes. Smith was dominant as he drove through the off-side and down the ground if anything was pitched in his half. He got to his fifty in good time as South Africa moved past 100.
At tea on Day Two, South Africa were in control at 118 for two. Soon after tea, Ishant changed the game as he bowled Amla. The South African No 3 misjudged one that came in and let it go through. Jacques Kallis walked out in the midst of some pressure over his personal form. He got an overpitched delivery first up and was trapped plumb in front. India celebrated. In the next over, Zaheer scalped his customary victim as Smith was trapped leg-before. JP Duminy and AB de Villiers held on for a while before Mohammed Shami dismissed them in one over. From 130 for one, they slipped to 146 for six.
From there on, Faf du Plessis and Philander took charge and waded through the difficulties. Philander in particular hit a few good strokes and was the dominant partner. He took them past 200 as the end of day’s play approached. Du Plessis had a stroke of luck as Rohit Sharma dropped him in the slips late in the day.
South Africa resumed on Day Three at 213 for six with Philander on song. He got things going with a few boundaries first up and was intent on making the most of the opportunities. Zaheer then had him poking at one outside the off stump and Ravichandran Ashwin took the catch at first-slip. India breathed a huge sigh of relief as Philander headed back for a fighting knock of 59.
Later, Steyn was surprised with a short one that climbed and he edged it to Rohit at second slip. Du Plessis edged one off Zaheer to Dhoni as South Africa slipped further. Ultimately, Zaheer finished the innings by bowling Morne Morkel. He finished with figures of four for 88 and Ishant recorded four for 79.
India 280 (Virat Kohli 119, Ajinkya Rahane 47; Vernon Philander 4 for 61, Morne Morkel 3 for 34) 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 36 runs.
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