India managed to take a big 326-run lead to push South Africa on the backfoot on day three of the second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday. But the same lead could have been bigger had it not been for Keshav Maharaj’s gritty 72 and Vernon Philander unbeaten 44.
The pair added 109 runs together after India had reduced South Africa to 162/8, with all their batsmen back in the dressing room.
Maharaj, who was batting with a sore shoulder, discussed how he and Philander went about their business in the middle.
“It’s very sore (shoulder), I dived on it yesterday, lots of bruising, but hopefully, I will be fine going further into the Test series,” said Maharaj.
“Myself and Vernon (Philander) decided that trying to go to tea unscathed was the first target, I was a bit injudicious at times (being a lower order batsman), he kept me in my mind and space and I managed to get some runs. I sat with Prasanna (South Africa analyst) last night, the game plan for me going forward was to how to play spin, I wanted to try and go outside off-stump, for Jadeja, tried to get my left leg out of the way,” he added.
Maharaj also said that the Pune wicket is deteriorating and it is getting difficult to score runs. While he was the leading run-getter for South Africa in their first innings, he made it clear that he has no advise for the South African batsmen.
“The wicket is deteriorating, it’s becoming difficult to score runs and Shami got it to reverse as well. It was tough, but think we managed it well,” said Maharaj.
“Not at all (when asked if he would advise the South African batsmen batsmen), to be honest, I was in a lot of pain myself. We wanted to spend as much time as possible, don’t know what India will do, but we need to keep being positive, don’t go into a shell and try and build some partnerships and transfer some pressure back on the bowlers,” he concluded.