Team India posted 188 for 6 at lunch on the third day of the ongoing second Test in Johannesburg, taking a 161-run lead in the second innings. The visitors added 103 runs to their overnight score of 85 for 3 after a century stand between Cheteshwar Pujara (53) and Ajinkya Rahane (58) for the third wicket. However, the Proteas bowlers bounced back minutes before the lunch break and picked 4 crucial wickets to put India in a spot to bother. At the end of first session, Hanuma Vihari was batting on 6 and was accompanied by Shardul Thakur (4*).
Team India dominated the first hour of the morning session as Pujara and Rahane showcased their class. It was a delight to watch both of them batting confidently against the South African bowlers; something that they couldn’t do on this tour yet.
Pujara continued with his aggression and kept smashing boundaries while Rahane, who was steady on Tuesday evening, shifted gear and joined the party to frustrate the home attack. The duo scored their respective half-centuries, stitching an exceptional 111-run stand for the third wicket.
Cheteshwar Pujara took 62 balls to reach his half-century while Ajinkya Rahane scored his fifty with a boundary of 67 deliveries. The two senior batters looked extremely comfortable in the middle and played with utmost patience until Kagiso Rabada dented the partnership.
Off the final delivery of the 35th over, Rabada bowled a length ball that bounced enough to take a fine edge of Rahane’s bat. Stumper Kyle Verreynne made no mistake in grabbing the ball and India lost their third wicket at the score of 155.
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Rabada struck once again in his next over and trapped Pujara in the front. Though the on-field umpire Allahudien Paleker gave it straight away in the favour of the hosts, the Indian No.3 decide to review. The ball tracking showed that it was pitching in line and hitting the middle and leg stump. India lost a review while Pujara’s fine innings came to an end.
The South Africans then played a smart trick against Rishabh Pant and to everyone’s surprise, it did hit the bull’s eye. As the Indian wicketkeeper was taking his guard, Rassie van der Dussen poked him from short leg after which both the cricketers had an exchange of words which was clearly audible on the stump mic. A couple of balls later, Pant danced down the track to smash Rabada for a biggie but ended up getting a top edge and was caught behind for a 3-ball duck.
Ravichandran Ashwin was the fourth batter India lost before heading into the lunch break. After smashing a couple of boundaries, the right-hand batter was strangled down the leg with a short of a length delivery. Ashwin looked to clip it down the leg but edged it to Verreynne and departed for 16 off 14 balls.
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