South Africa need 172 runs to win following a solid display by Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla in the first session on day four at the Wanderers.
India came into day four as favourites to claim the remaining nine wickets and win the Test. The uneven bounce and overcast conditions – the start of play was delayed by an hour this morning due to a wet outfield – was expected to assist the bowling side.
Elgar and Amla played positively from the outset. Both were forced to deal with the odd delivery that exploded off a length. Both were beaten by balls that seamed significantly off the track.
But at no point did either batsman retreat into his shell. Elgar and Amla were quick to punish the poor deliveries over the course of the session. They were somewhat fortunate that when the ball did find the edge it fell out of the reach of an Indian fielder.
The Proteas should be encouraged by the events of the first session. Elgar and Amla have done well to edge closer to the target of 241 – a formidable one on this unpredictable track.
The pair will return to the crease after lunch. The task may be slightly less daunting now that the ball is 28 overs old.
India are still the favourites, though. Conditions are tough for batting. The situation could change very quickly if Elgar and Amla fall after the break and two new batsmen are forced to combat the India bowlers.
India 187 (1st innings) – Virat Kohli 54, Cheteshwar Pujara 50, Kagiso Rabada 3-39, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-25
SA 194 (1st innings) – Hashim Amla 61, Vernon Philander 35, Jasprit Bumrah 5-54, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-44
India 247 (2nd innings) – Ajinkya Rahane 48, Virat Kohli 41, Kagiso Rabada 3-69, Morne Morkel 2-47
SA 69-1 (2nd innings) – Dean Elgar 29 not out, Hashim Amla 27 not out, Mohammed Shami 1-15
South Africa need 172 runs to win
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix