NEW DELHI: Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar struck fifties each to put South Africa in control before India came back with two quick strikes to leave them 136/3 just before tea on Day 4 of the third Test in Johannesburg.
Amla put on display an exemplary defensive technique to Defy India Bowlers along with Elgar who continued is streaky but courageous knock. Both struck half-centuries in a century stand before Ishant Sharma struck with the wicket of Amla on 52 thanks to an outstanding catch from Hardik Pandya. AB de Villiers lasted 13 deliveries before edging one from Jasprit Bumrah to gully to walk back on six. India landed two big blows in the space of 21 deliveries to reduce the hosts from 124/1 to 136/3.
However, Elgar who reached his 10th Test half-century with a streaky four, was batting unbeaten on 61 along with skipper Faf du Plessis (0) as South Africa need 105 more with four sessions still remaining in the Test.
Elgar and Amla started well after the play resumed an hour late on Day 4 and they went on to add 119 runs for the second wicket before being separated. The overnight pair saw off the opening hour safely, pushing their team closer to the target on a pitch that has stolen the limelight from the on-field contest. They went for lunch without losing any wicket – the first wicketless session of the Test.
The duo continued to defy India bowlers for the better part of the second session two before the Indians hit back. Elgar, who was hit on the helmet grill by a rising delivery from Bumrah on Friday, was declared fit to bat after undergoing tests for concussion and had to battle some jittery moments despite heavy roller being applied ahead of the resumption.
The controversy over the pitch has spiced up the contest with contrasting opinions. India were adamant on continuing to play on a pitch which behaved awkwardly throughout Friday with batsmen copping blows. But the match officials halted the play after the Elgar incident with the third day’s play eventually being called off.
There was no uneven bounce on Saturday morning. The pitch considerably eased out with the Indian bowlers unable to find the length that troubled South Africa on Friday. Ishant Sharma looked fired up with a testing spell but was left disappointed on multiple occasions with the ball evading the edge.
When the ball did find the edge, it flew over the slip cordon for four as happened with Bhuvneshwar Kumar when Elgar attempted a drive. That shot also brought up the 50-run stand between Elgar and Amla for the second wicket. Mohammed Shami was taken off after just one over when he was struck for two fours in it by Amla. Bhuvneshwar did cause some trouble in his spell but failed to make any breakthrough.
Source : timesofindia