South Africa resisted India with opener Dean Elgar and skipper Faf du Plessis adding 90 unbeaten runs for the fifth wicket to take the total to 153/4 at lunch on Day 3 of the first Test in Vizag. South Africa, resuming on 39/3, were dealt an early blow in the form of Temba Bavuma, but du Plessis and half-centurion Elgar rallied to play out the remaining session with the opener scoring his career’s 14th Test fifty.
It took India 6.1 overs to land a fourth blow on South Africa. Ishant got one to land outside off and nip viciously back into the batsman. The ball stayed low, rapping Bavuma flush in front of the stumps. At 63 for 4, India had tightened their grip on the game but du Plessis and Elgar batted on to seize back the advantage scoring 114 runs in the session.
This is already South Africa’s highest partnership of the last two Test series they’ve played in India, an indication of the resilience displayed by the two batsmen. India could have seen the back of Elgar had Wriddhiman Saha held on to a deflection off the bowling of Jadeja. He was batting on 74 then. However, barring that, Elgar and du Plessis were clinical. At the interval, the South Africa skipper, whose Test average in India was under 10 before this innings, is unbeaten on 48, his highest score in the country.
Elgar, South Africa’s highest run-getter in Test since 2015, was calculated in his approach. He took his chances, doing the occasional shimmy down the wicket en route to scoring eight boundaries and more importantly, three sixes. Du Plessis was equally solid, hitting seven boundaries – the flick off Ashwin standing out – and a six.
On a slow and deteriorating pitch, R Ashwin and Jadeja did the bulk of the effort, both bowling long spells and South Africa would know they need to bat the remaining two sessions to feel safe about their position in the match.
Brief Scores: South Africa 153/4 (Dean Elgar 76*, Faf du Plessis 48*; R Ashwin 2-51) trail India 502/7 decl (Mayank Agarwal 215, Rohit Sharma 176) by 349 runs