All-rounders Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj stood at the fore of the Proteas’ defiance at tea on day three of the second Test against India at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Resuming on 36-3 overnight, the tourists moved to a 197-8 at the break, with Philander and Maharaj unbeaten on 23 and 21, respectively. Captain Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, was unable to convert a steely half-century into a ton.
The visitors trail by a hefty 404 runs, after the hosts had amassed 601-5 declared on the back of captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten double-century. The sixth double-century of a prolific Test career was the highest for Kohli. Friday’s 254 not out surpassed the 243 collected against Sri Lanka in Delhi in 2017.
Kohli now has 26 Test centuries – as many as Australia’s Steve Smith, but from 14 extra innings. One more and he will equal former Proteas captain Graeme Smith’s tally of 27 Test tons. Kohli also passed 7,000 Test runs – four more than Australia’s sir Donald Bradman – on Friday.
On day one, first Test double-centurion Agarwal welcomed another three-figure contribution, after Kohli had won the toss and opted to bat first. This is Kohli’s 50th Test as India captain. Only Test retiree MS Dhoni has more.
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