All-rounders Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj were again at the fore of the Proteas’ belated resistance at tea on day four of the second Test against India at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Forced to follow on after slipping to 275 all out in response to India’s 601-5 declared, which was built on the back of captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten double-century, the tourists moved to 172-7 at the break on Sunday.
Philander and Maharaj, who shared a century partnership in the first innings, amid familiar top through- middle-order frailties, combined well again in the second. Their unbroken 43-run stand will resume after tea, with the visitors still 154 adrift of at least making India bat again.
Earlier, opener Aiden Markram collected a second two-ball duck this match, after failing to use the Decision Review System in the wake of an incorrect lbw decision. Television replays showed the trajectory of the ball to be missing the leg-stump.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha took two excellent catches to get rid of the out-of-form Theunis de Bruyn and captain Faf du Plessis. The first was a diving, one-handed catch to his left – and the second collected on fourth grab in front of the stumps.
Elgar’s impatience, meanwhile, tolled against spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The stoic left-hander holed out in the deep shortly before reaching 50. Vice-captain Temba Bavuma, wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and all-rounder Senuran Muthasamy also perished cheaply, before Maharaj and Philander’s’ collective steel continued.
India boast an early lead in the three-match series after last week’s 203-run victory in the first Test in Visakhapatnam. Ranchi will host the third and final fixture from 19 October.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
Photo: Gallo Images