It was a great days of cricket as Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander provided tough resistance for the South Africa, but India are ahead of the game after the end of day 3 played at MCA Stadium, Pune on Saturday.
Starting on the overnight score of 36 for 3, Mohammed Shami provided the early breakthrough for India dismissing night-watchmen Nortje. The South African captain Faf du Plessis survived an scare he the ball took the inside edge and went into the boundary. Theunis de Bryun played some lovely shots before Umesh Yadav took his wicket with a brilliant catch by Wriddhiman Saha. Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis counterattacked to the Indian bowlers with some lovely strokes. Both of them looked aggressive with their strokes. At the stroke of lunch, Ravichandran Ashwin produced a beauty to dismiss de Kock. De Kock and Faf added 75 runs for the 6th wicket. Faf du Plessis reached his fifty off 64 balls. At lunch, South Africa were struggling at 136 for 6.
After the lunch break, Ravindra Jadeja got the wicket of Muthuswamy for 7. Vernon Philander came to the crease and looked solid with his defensive technique. Ravichandran Ashwin got the wicket of South African captain Faf du Plessis for a well made 64. Keshav Maharaj who was struggling with a shoulder injury came to the bat and made the batting look easy against the Indian bowlers. Both played with defensive technique and hit bad balls away for boundaries. South Africa were 197 for 8 at the tea break.
In the third session, Maharaj and Philander continued to frustrate the Indian bowling line up. India took the new ball in the 81st over. Maharaj reached his first half-century off 96 balls. Philander also showed great composure to toil the Indian bowlers. Ravichandran Ashwin provided the much needed breakthrough dismissing Maharaj for 72. Maharaj and Philander added 109 runs for the 9th wicket. Ashwin took the wicket of Kagiso Rabada with a good delivery which ended South Africa’s innings on 275. India still lead South Africa by 326 runs.
With lots of spin and bounce available on the pitch, Kohli would love to give his bowlers rest and then came hard later day 4.
South Africa 275 in 105.4 overs (Keshav Maharaj 72, Philander 44*, Faf du Plessis 64, Ravichandran Ashwin 4/69, Umesh Yadav 3/37, Shami 2/44) trail India 601 for 5 in 156.3 overs ( Kohli 254*, Mayank Agarwal 108, Ravindra Jadeja 91, Rabada 3/93) by 326 runs.