India vs South Africa 2019, 1st Test: 3 talking points from Day 3
While the first two days of the Vizag Test had been dominated by India, South Africa fought back brilliantly on Day 3. Resuming on their overnight score of 39-3, South Africa made a spirited comeback and moved to 385-8 at stumps on day three. This was thanks to centuries from Dean Elgar (160 runs) and Quinton de Kock (111).
The visitors still trail India (who registered 502-7 declared in their first innings) by 117 runs.
The third day was a highly entertaining one to watch. Here are three talking points of the day’s play.
#3 Temba Bavuma’s wicket
South Africa started their batting reply in disastrous fashion when they lost three wickets for 34 runs. India’s spin wizards, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, wreaked havoc among the top-order.
Temba Bavuma came to the crease in these difficult circumstances. He showed good technique during his stay at the crease which, unfortunately, did not last long.
He was adjudged LBW off an Ishant Sharma delivery after scoring 18 runs (with the score at 63-4). The wicket-ball was short of a length and kept extremely low which was surprising as Sharma, a tall man, generates plenty of bounce.
From then on, the pitch misbehaved frequently and Bavuma’s dismissal became a huge talking point.
#2 South Africa’s fightback
After Bavuma’s dismissal, the situation looked hopeless for the tourists. But Elgar and De Kock led a spirited fightback which saw South Africa dominate most of the day.
First, Elgar and his captain Faf du Plessis combined for a 115-run partnership. Both players were in a positive mood; they attacked the bowling of Ashwin and Jadeja with aplomb and hit them for several sixes.
While Elgar and Du Plessis accumulated a lot of runs straight down the ground, they also used the sweep shot with great success. Just when the partnership looked ominous, India captured Du Plessis’ wicket to make the score 178-5.
But De Kock carried on with the good work. Everything he touched seemed to turn into gold.
He hit a number of sumptuous shots through the off-side, including reverse-sweeps, cover-drives and cuts. De Kock reached his half-century off 79 balls.
Even though the Proteas lost three wickets for 42 runs late in the day, it was still a brilliant comeback.
#1 Ashwin’s five-wicket haul
India’s bowlers were forced to toil the whole day in sweltering conditions. The temperature was reportedly 38 degrees Celsius and the players were understandably fatigued and weary at stumps.
But one man got just reward for his hard work - Ravichandran Ashwin. India’s ace spinner finished with figures of 5-128, with three of those wickets garnered on Day 3.
Ashwin sized up the conditions perfectly. He bowled the ideal pace, between 80 and 90 kmph, which allowed the ball to grip and turn. He extracted prodigious spin out of the pitch and bamboozled South Africa’s batsmen on several occasions.
The 33-year-old’s three-ball sequence to De Kock was brilliant. The first two balls turned sharply away from the batsman’s bat. The third ball, however, did not turn and drifted in with the angle (Ashwin was bowling from around the wicket to the left-handed De Kock) before crashing into the stumps.
If Ashwin can replicate his feats in South Africa’s second innings, he will be more than a handful.