AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar stretched South Africa’s lead to 88 at tea on day three at Centurion.
Virat Kohli dominated the Proteas bowlers in the first session and in the period after lunch. The India captain scored 153 and ultimately boosted the visitors to within 28 runs of South Africa’s first-innings score.
In the end, Kohli ran out of partners and was forced to take risks. This led to his dismissal, with De Villiers taking the catch at long-on and Morne Morkel finishing with figures of 4-60.
Kohli, as well as the less established ‘batsmen’ such as Ravi Ashwin and Ishant Sharma, had few problems with the pitch during the initial stages of day three. Indeed, one wonders how many runs he may have accrued if more of the specialist batsmen had provided the necessary support.
The Proteas, however, battled to adjust to the conditions. Jasprit Bumrah knocked over Aiden Markram and then Hashim Amla with full deliveries that kept a little low. At that stage, South Africa were 3-2 and in serious trouble.
Elgar was fortunate when an edge found the gap in the slip cordon and went for 4. A few overs later, he attempted to hit Aswhin over the top but only succeeded in spooning the ball over the infield.
De Villiers played positively from the outset. The Proteas proceeded to dig themselves out of the hole.
Slowly but surely, the hosts’ lead increased. De Villiers and Elgar ensured that the Proteas went to the break without further loss of wickets.
South Africa should look to add as many runs as possible in the next session or so. Another 150 to 200 runs may be enough.
There is a lot of time left in this contest. That said, India will have to bat last on this surface, and a total of 250 may take some getting.
SA 335 (1st innings) – Aiden Markram 94, Hashim Amla 82, Ravi Ashwin 4-113, Ishant Sharma 3-46
India 307 (1st innings) – Virat Kohli 153, Murali Vijay 46, Morne Morkel 4-60, Vernon Philander 1-46
SA 60-2 (2nd innings) – AB de Villiers 33 not out, Dean Elgar 23 not out, Jasprit Bumrah 2-19
South Africa lead by 88 runs
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix