Centurion: Chasing 287 for a win, which will be the highest ever at this venue if successful, Murali Vijay (9), Lokesh Rahul (4) and captain Virat Kohli (5) were dismissed cheaply in the final session of day as India were reduced to 35 for 3 from 23 overs at stumps yesterday.
Debutant Lungi Ngidi grabbed the wickets of Kohli and Rahul while Kagiso Rabada dismissed Vijay to rock the Indian second innings and place South Africa in a commanding position of clinching the three-match series with one Test to go in Johannesburg from January 24.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Parthiv Patel were batting on 11 and 5 respectively at the close of the day’s play after an extended final session.
The visitors now need 252 more runs on the final day today to win the Test with seven second innings wickets in hand. It will be a tall task, if not an impossible one, for India as 249 is the highest total chased down successfully by any side at the Centurion, a feat achieved by England in 2000.
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami expressed surprise at South Africa rolling out a sub- continental type of pitch for the second cricket Test here.
“I did not expect the ball would stay so low in this wicket. Till now in overseas conditions, we have not seen such slow and low bounce wickets. So I don’t know what they were thinking when they made this wicket. But whatever it is we have to play on it and the conditions are same for both teams. Tomorrow we will try to win,” said Shami.
Shami took 4/49 in the South African second innings as the hosts were bowled out for 258. He took three wickets in the morning session, but bowled only the last over of the post-lunch session. He did not even come on to bowl when he had the chance of taking a five-wicket haul.
South Africa’s lower-order stonewalled the Indian bowling post lunch and India did not take the second new ball available to them.
So we wanted to restrict them to as low a score as possible and bowl in good areas as much as possible.
Talking about missed chances in slip cordon, he said, “When you make a unit and get 15 guys to play for the country then you should have self belief, and mix up with each other, so that this is our best and we will make him stand in slips. It is part of the game that you will drop some catches but we are not robots or machines that we will catch all of them. We can only try and then the rest is dependent on luck.”
The much-vaunted Indian top order struggled yet again against quality fast bowling as the visitors stared at a series defeat at the close of fourth day in the second cricket Test against South Africa here today.
South Africa were 1-0 up in the three-match Test series after their 72-run victory in Cape Town.
A series defeat would also snap India’s nine-series winning streak.
In the morning session, news broke that Kohi has been fined 25 per cent of his match fees and received one demerit point for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the final session on day three.
The Indian skipper had protested animatedly to on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Michael Gough that the ball was too wet when play resumed after a brief rain break. He later pleaded guilty to the charge.