At this rate, with only one wicket lost in the first session, South Africa are well on course to save the fourth Test against India.
Hashim Amla (25 off 244 balls) was the only casualty as the Proteas went to lunch on 94-3 with AB de Villiers (26 off 203) and Faf du Plessis (2 off 61) at the crease.
South Africa have done well to deal with the Indian onslaught where as many as six close-catching fielders have surrounded the batsmen when the spinners have been operating.
Amla’s epic ‘blockathon’ was ended by Ravindra Jadeja 12 overs into the day when he bowled the captain with a delivery that missed the outside edge and clipped off-stump.
Amla spent 288 minutes at the crease, 12 short of five hours. Even though he maybe could have played more forward, it was a very good delivery that beat him.
India immediately took the second new ball when it became available after 80 overs. Virat Kohli entrusted his spinners Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja to get a breakthrough rather than his seamers and it took five overs for Jadeja to get Amla.
Du Plessis took 53 deliveries to get off the mark which is a record for a South African batsman. South Africa have largely been in control on the final day so far. The ball has beaten the bat on occasion and there has been some half-hearted lbw appeals, but for the most part, De Villiers and Du Plessis have batted extremely well within themselves.
What will be of concern for the South Africans is the two deliveries from Umesh Yadav that hit De Villiers on the gloves. The first one was very painful and he received treatment on the field, but his team will hope it doesn’t affect his batting in the rest of the match.
India will likely target the middle session as a crucial one to get De Villiers and Du Plessis out. The longer they bat together, the more nervous India will become.