By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 20, 2013
India have extended their lead to 145 runs on Day Three of the first Test against South Africa at Johannesburg. Earlier in the day, South Africa were bowled out for 244, which gave India a 36-run lead. At tea, India are 109 for two with Cheteshwar Pujara going strong on 39.
Commencing the afternoon session at 31 for one, Murali Vijay and Pujara continued to weather the storm. There was help for the fast-bowlers and they kept persisting with tight lines around the off-stump. The Indian batsmen were patient as they let those deliveries go through and defended anything on their stumps.
Pujara was looking to score of any opportunity. When one went off his pads to fine-leg, he sprinted through for two and just made it on time. On another occasion, he ran through for a bye when AB de Villiers failed to collect cleanly. A desperate dive at the non-striker’s end saw him through as the ball ricocheted off his stumps and they got two more.
Vijay looked in fluent touch as there was a good straight drive off Dale Steyn that carpeted along for a four. When Steyn bowled on his pads, he was flicked through the leg-side. The runs started coming more easily once they got their eye in. Imran Tahir was brought into the attack for a solitary over and he conceded nine.
Jacques Kallis then replaced Tahir and was cut by Pujara over point for a four. Pujara even essayed a good pull shot as Kallis was placed between the fielders at fine-leg and square-leg. However, the all-rounder halted the partnership as Vijay edged a delivery down the leg-side and de Villiers took the catch.
Virat Kohli entered the stage and took his time to get off the mark. Steyn bowled a short delivery and he almost tried to pull it. It took a faint edge and went over de Villiers head for four. Pujara picked up a little pace as the session came to a close as he essayed another cut through point off Kallis for four. Graeme Smith then employed an attacking field to Pujara as he had two men standing close in on the off-side and one on the leg-side.
The last over tea was surprisingly bowled by de Villiers as Hashim Amla donned the gloves.
India 280 (Virat Kohli 119, Ajinkya Rahane 47; Vernon Philander 4 for 61, Morne Morkel 3 for 34) and 109 for 2 (Murali Vijay 39, Cheteshwar Pujara 39*; Vernon Philander 1 for 18, Jacques Kallis 1 for 23) 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 145 runs.
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