India vs South Africa, 2nd Test: South Africa in hunt as defiant Elgar takes house group to 118/2 in pursuit of 240 | Cricket News – Times of India

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JOHANNESBURG: South African batters, led by their gutsy skipper Dean Elgar, dug their heels in to achieve inside 122 runs of a series-levelling victory in opposition to a decided India because the second Test appeared poised for a gripping fourth day end on Wednesday.
Elgar (46 batting off 121 balls) took some nasty blows off deliveries that spat off the cracks however stored his group on target at 118 for two in pursuit of a tough 240-run goal set by India within the wake of a strong century-plus partnership from the under-fire duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
Scorecard | As it occurred
Shardul Thakur (1/24), who’s in the midst of an important Test match, acquired his eighth sufferer of the sport in an over throughout which the ball seamed, bounced and stored low from the identical spot with the final one discovering opener Aiden Markram‘s (31) pads.
Keegan Petersen (28) added 46 along with his skipper earlier than Ravichandran Ashwin (1/14) acquired one to float and switch getting a leg earlier than determination going his means.
However, like each new innings on this sport the place heavy curler has made batting simpler by ironing out the divots on the great size spots, Elgar was able to play the ugly sport placing his physique on the road, getting hit on knuckles, chest, shoulder and even on head prompting a fast on-field concussion take a look at.

While South Africa will that they’ve half a foot by the victory door, there was quite a few cases within the collection the place a batting collapse has modified the course of the sport.
There are two issues that might hold India anxious going into the fourth day.
In this Test, the batting circumstances have improved because the match has progressed — 202, 229, 266 — and secondly, Mohammed Siraj is way from match and bowled solely 4 out of the 40 overs despatched down until now.
The Indian group, in its thoughts, is aware of that it’s a bowler brief.
While 240 as a goal is greater than first rate, India might have pushed it a bit extra had Rishabh Pant’s poor shot choice, that incurred legendary Sunil Gavaskar’s wrath within the commentary field, not occurred on the most inopportune of moments.

Having been hit by a Kagiso Rabada bouncer, Pant charged to a different brief ball like a raging bull solely to be caught behind that prompted Gavaskar to query his sense of “responsibility” urging for the “nonsense” in garb of pure sport” to stop.
But it was a day when India’s middle order finally came good through combative half-centuries from Pujara and Rahane.
Pujara (53 off 86 balls) and Rahane (58 off 78 balls) gave fresh lease of life to their respective careers with timely knocks while Hanuma Vihari (40 not out) also played a crucial part in swelling India’s overall lead as they finished their second innings at 266.
Kagiso Rabada (20-3-77-3) was inspirational in the final half-an-hour before lunch as he brought his team back with quick dismissals.
Marco Jansen (17-4-67-3) and Lungi Ngidi (10.1-1-43-3) also played their parts to perfection.
The Indian middle-order, which has flattered to deceive on most occasions in the past couple of years, did its job and also got some much needed late-order support from Shardul Thakur (28).
Pujara and Rahane, in a rarely seen counter-attacking mode, added 111 runs in just 23.2 overs, getting some breathing space for themselves.
Having understood that time is indeed running out for them, both the batters decided not to try and hang around as they looked for scoring opportunities.
The half volleys were driven imperiously and the width was dispatched disdainfully square off the wicket.
When Jansen bowled one short, Rahane uncorked the slash over point for a six. Pujara’s 50 came off 62 balls while Rahane’s half-century was completed in 67, signalling that they were trying to show ‘intent’ and put team’s interest above everything else.
They hit 18 fours and a six between them.
There was a time when India were 155 for two with a lead of 128 and it seemed that South Africa’s propensity to bowl too short or too full was proving to be damaging.
But then Rabada, South Africa’s best exponent of fast bowling since Dale Steyn, produced an inspired show that is so synonymous with the traditional format.
Rabada found that ideal back of length and it landed on the crack to deviate sharply, taking Rahane’s edge into keeper Kyle Verreynne’s gloves.
Pujara then got one from Rabada in the off-stump channel to be plumb in front despite lunging far forward.
However, the man who disappointed one and all was Pant, who first got a snorter from Rabada that hit his helmet visor when he tried to defend awkwardly, and then he charged to convert a short ball into a half volley. The result was an edge to keeper.
It was Vihari and Shardul, who were involved in a 41-run stand for the seventh wicket and then had two little but enormously important stands of 17 and 21 respectively with tailenders Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj to set up a good chase for the Proteas.

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