South Africa takes control despite the epic pant century

Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 100 saw India out of trouble after an early collapse, but South Africa took control thanks to a brilliant partnership between Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen.

Scorecard | FULL REPEAT ON

South Africa finished the day 101/2 and needed another 111 runs to win. That was largely due to the 78 run stand between Petersen and Elgar after opener Aiden Markram fell early in the final session.

India had started the final session on a high thanks to Pants’ terrific 100*, which helped them set the hosts a target of 212. However, Petersen and Elgar were so effective that the tables quickly turned.

Petersen showed his rich streak of form as he threw up some glorious shots to remain unbeaten at 48 at the end of the day. Elgar meanwhile found himself in difficult positions but managed to survive and helped build a rank of 78.

Unfortunately for the South African captain, he was sacked at the very end of the day when he attempted to hound a long throw from Jasprit Bumrah over the leg and found himself trailing 30 points. Stumps was called shortly thereafter and set up an intriguing play on Day Four.

Still, the credit for the day goes to Pant. India hadn’t gotten off to the start they wanted in the morning – they lost to Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane within the first two overs of the morning but Pant rose to the occasion and scored a great century to dig the visitors out of trouble.

Petersen pulled off a brilliant catch at Leg Slip to end Pujara’s innings in Marco Jansen’s second delivery of the morning. Rahane’s struggles continued as he was dismissed by a superb performance from Kagiso Rabada in the next over. This meant India were four behind after adding just one run to their overnight result of 57/2.

Virat Kohli held his end up, as he did in the first innings, and Pant joined him in the middle, knowing partnership was paramount at this stage. Batting sensibly, they managed to pull India out of the doldrums, Kohli’s caution and constant lead, allowing Pant to play his natural game.

Pant especially liked Keshav Maharaj and wanted to attack him when he was substituted on. The 24-year-old also hit some long sixes while bowling and they carried India safely through to lunch.

They continued with the second session, but a glowing Lungi Ngidi spell brought the Proteas back again. Ngidi provided a much-needed breakthrough, dismissing Kohli to end his 94-run streak with pant. Kohli attempted a booming cover drive but was only able to parry it to the slip cordon where Markram made a terrific catch.

After that it was all about Pant. India lost their last five wickets for just 36 runs, with Ngidi claiming two of those wickets – R Ashwin and Shardul Thakur – in quick succession. But Pant managed to defy South Africa, Scored fast runs towards the end to progress to a well-deserved century on just 133 balls.

It was his fourth Test century and third overseas. He was also the first Indian wicketkeeper batter to score 100 points in South Africa.

India were soon shot out for 198 and the partnership between Petersen and Elgar would change the mood at camp – but both teams have hope, to varying degrees, on Day Four.

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