Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane fell cheaply as India started off day 3 on a poor note but Virat Kohli held firm against a determined bowling attack.
India started off poorly on day 3 of the third Test against South Africa at Cape Town. Having resumed at 57/2, India lost Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane cheaply. Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant held firm as India looked to set South Africa a big target in excess of 250 in the fourth innings. Pant was playing his aggressive shots but Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada were breathing fire.
South Africa struck in the second ball of day 3 thanks to Marco Jansen and Keegan Petersen. Jansen bowled a short ball on the hips of Pujara who looked to glance it to fine leg. The ball was traveling but Keegan Petersen at leg gully dived to his right to take a stunning one-handed catch. The Indian team, especially Pujara and Kohli, could not believe the catch was taken. Pujara’s dismissal for 9 jolted India’s plans of trying to build a base for a big score.
Apart from Pujara, there were plenty of question marks over the status of Ajinkya Rahane. Although he had hit a fifty in Johannesburg, the doubts over Rahane’s form lingered. Jansen and Rabada were bowling with tremendous hostility and Rahane fell the full wrath of it.
Rabada got a shortish ball to kick up from a good length as it nipped away. Rahane fended at it and the edge flew to the keeper. The onfield umpire did not give it out and South Africa immediately took the review. Replays showed a big edge and Rahane fell for 1. Rabada and Jansen’s early burst has already put India in big trouble. It will need something special from Kohli and Rishabh Pant to salvage the situation for India.
Pant looked to take the attack to the bowlers with four crisp boundaries. There was no slogging involved as India looked to build a big lead. But, the wickets of Pujara and Rahane cheaply have deepened the doubts as to whether they can be kept in the Indian cricket team. Their careers are at a crossroads once this tour is over. Kohli, on the other hand, has looked in solid touch yet again as he reached double digits. In the first innings, Kohli was the top scorer with 79 and was unlucky to miss out on a century.
India is aiming to win a Test series in South Africa for the first time. If this happens, then India will join South Africa and Australia as the only nations to have won a Test series in every country.