Captain Faf du Plessis remained resolute, but the Proteas lost three wickets prior to lunch 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 136-6 at the break. Nightwatchman Anrich Nortje, No 3 batsman Theunis de Bruyn and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock departed in Saturday’s opening session.
Nortje was undone by a steep bouncer from fast bowler Mohammed Shami, De Bruyn’s lack of footwork ended a promising innings and De Kock was flummoxed by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s guile. Du Plessis and all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy will resume on 52 and 6 not out, respectively, after tea.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, meanwhile, has been formally warned twice for running on the pitch. A third infringement will remove him from the bowling attack for the rest of the innings.
The visitors trail by a hefty 465 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 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