Three days of unadulterated entertainment. The 2nd Test between India and South Africa in Johannesburg is yet to produce a drab session and the rapid pace with which it’s been moving means we most likely will have a result on Day 4 itself with the hosts needing 122 runs more to win with eight wickets in the bank.
Here are the major talking points from Day 3
Rahane, Pujara Turn it on
The first hour of play belonged to India on the third morning. Two of their senior-most members Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane delivered the goods with their future uncertain after a series of low scores. Both batted with confidence and aggression that left South Africa bowlers frustrated. Pujara had ended the Day 2 with a boundary and he began Day 3 with a boundary too. He was the first to reach his fifty while Rahane took his time before blossoming and even played an upper-cut for a stunning six before hitting half-century of his own.
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The pair stitched a century partnership before being separated, laying the platform for a size-able lead.
Vihari Keeps it From Unraveling
…But as has been the case with this contest, just when it looks a team has taken control, the other snatches it back promptly. Today, it was Kagiso Rabada who dealt three major blows to India’s hopes of setting a formidable target. In quick time, he swallowed Pujara, Rahane and the dangerman Rishabh Pant. And it seemed that the innings is heading down for a quick end but Hanuma Vihari, who made it to the eleven only because Virat Kohli was unfit to take the field, showed his worth. He batted smartly with the lower-order to score an unbeaten 40 and help his team end up with a decent lead.
In Pictures: India vs South Africa 2nd Test, Day 3
Pant vs Van der Dussen 1.0
Expect entertainment when Pant is on the field. Whether he’s batting or behind the stumps, there’s never a dull moment. When he came to bat today, Rassie van der Dussen couldn’t help himself from reminding the Indian stumper of his controversial catch earlier in the contest. Pant hit back and asked him to stay quiet if he is armed with half knowledge. But it was the South Africans who had the last laugh as a rattled Pant charged forward for a wild swing and ended up edging one from Rabada to be out caught-behind for a duck.
Marco Jansen peppered Jasprit Bumrah with short deliveries. He followed each such attempt with death-stares. Bumrah responded in kind. When he copped one on his arm, he dusted it off presumably to show he’s doing fine. Another bouncer followed and this time it struck him on the helmet. Another stare. Words were exchanged. Bumrah gestured Jansen to come closer this time and the youngster obliged. More words were exchanged. Tempers flared. Umpire Marais Erasmus quickly arrive as the peacemaker.
Also Read: Advantage South Africa After Day 3
Pant vs Van der Dussen 2.0
When Van der Dussen came to bat in at no. 4 later in the day, he must have mentally prepared himself not just for the India pacers but for the verbal volleys that were to come his way via Pant. The otherwise chirpy Pant was uncharacteristically quiet for the early part of South African innings but eventually came into his own. His best was reserved for Van der Dussen though.
When the South African no. 4 was marking his guard again, Pant said Van der Dussen is so clueless that after batting for over four overs, he doesn’t know where his guard is. This was just one of the several shots Pant would aim at his rival.
Elgar, The Fighter
Dean Elgar has a history of copping body blows. During the Ranchi Test of 2019, he suffered concussion after being hit by a bouncer from Umesh Yadav. Things didn’t go that far on Wednesday but he was forced to to put up a brave front against some hostile Indian bowling. He was struck near the helmet grill by a sharp bouncer from Bumrah that brought physio to the middle for the mandatory concussion test. Mohammed Shami pinged him on the shoulder later on but before that he gloved one to point for a single that again required the physio rushing to the middle. this time tending to his finger. The captain continued to fight, reaching 46 off 121 with two fours and ensuring his team ended the day on a high.
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