India vs South Africa 1st Test, Day 3: Elgar, De Kock lead Proteas fightback as Vizag Test hangs in balance
Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock blunted the potent Indian bowling attack with some flamboyant strokeplay on Day 3 of the first Test in Vizag, quashing India's bid to lay the foundation of a victory. Spearheading the resurgence, the dynamic left-handers notched up magnificent tons and took the Proteas to a competitive position at stumps as Virat Kohli and company labored for wickets.
Precariously wobbling at 39/3 when play resumed, South Africa were jolted early in the morning session as Ishant Sharma pinned Temba Bavuma dead in front with a jagging in-swinger that crashed into his pads. Next in, captain Faf du Plessis united forces with Elgar to weather the menacing storm.
The pair garnered watchful singles and maneuvered the spinners dexterously while also throwing in lofted hits in the middle to break the shackles.
Calculative in his approach, Elgar shifted into fourth gear after reaching his half-century with a firm push down the ground. Normally a tidy customer behind the sticks, Wriddhiman Saha gifted a reprieve to the southpaw on 74 as he failed to grasp a deflection off Ravindra Jadeja's bowling.
Du Plessis too registered his fifty before the 115-run partnership was terminated by Ravichandran Ashwin, who had the skipper caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at leg-slip.
De Kock rode his luck early on as Rohit Sharma failed to snaffle a tough chance at silly-point but thereafter, he prolonged the agony for the hosts as he treated the spin-twins with utmost disdain. Runs kept flowing from his willow as the keeper-batsman combined with his senior partner for a determined 164-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Elgar slammed a gigantic maximum over mid-wicket to bring up his 12th Test century in emphatic fashion. In desperate pursuit of a breakthrough, India finally struck as Elgar holed out to deep mid-wicket, providing Jadeja with his 200th Test wicket.
De Kock notched up the three-figure mark with a clean strike over long-off before India's premier off-spinner breached through his defences to rattle the timber. The youngster did fall prey to an organized set-up from the veteran but only after hammering 111 crucial runs to bail the team out of choppy waters.
Later, Vernon Philander failed to withstand the prowess of the master tweaker but South Africa concluded 117 adrift. They had not only reduced the deficit substantially but also likely prevented a trouncing.
Brief Scores: India 502/7 decl (Mayank Agarwal 215, Rohit Sharma 176) lead South Africa 385/8 (Dean Elgar 160, Quinton de Kock 111, Faf du Plessis 55; R Ashwin 5-128) by 117 runsPublished 04 Oct 2019, 22:05 IST