Nagpur Test: South Africa fall under spin pressure as India eye series win

Nagpur: If Day One of the third Test brought back memories of Mohali, Day Two had a more intense script in store. Ravichandran Ashwin (5 for 32) and Ravindra Jadeja (4 for 33) combined to shoot South Africa out for 79, helping India take a huge 136-run lead on a difficult surface at the VCA Stadium, Jamtha. India's batsmen then battled to put up 173 on the board, leaving South Africa with a huge 310-run target.

R Ashwin celebrates a wicket with Murali VijayR Ashwin celebrates a wicket with Murali Vijay. Pic/ PTI

Within the first hour of play, South Africa lost five wickets for 54 runs. Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers fell within the space of three overs, with the Proteas reduced to 12 for five. Such was Ashwin and Jadeja's dominance that Amit Mishra wasn't used until South Africa had lost eight wickets.

South Africa were all at sea, particularly against Ashwin, who seems to have a psychological edge over them. "Yes, I think it is mental. If you keep getting out to a particular bowler, you feel like you are going to nick one ball off anytime," Ashwin said. JP Duminy fought hard for his 35, as chances kept going India's way. Perhaps the highlight of the innings was Ashwin's carom ball that pitched outside leg, hit Simon Harmer around the pads and crashed into the off-stump.

Tahir gets five
India managed 173 on the increasingly difficult pitch, but some of their batsmen played rash strokes. Virat Kohli holed out to long-off, while Ajinkya Rahane was caught trying to play over the off-side. Not to forget a set Shikhar Dhawan (39), who was dismissed attempting a reverse sweep.

Ashwin said that the batsmen don't have too many scoring options. "I think this wicket is actually something where the batsman needs to plan and come out to bat. The area for scoring is pretty limited," he said. Perhaps, those wickets were lost as they attempted to break the shackles.

For South Africa, Morne Morkel continued to produce the goods, but Imran Tahir stood out as he finished with a five-wicket haul. "Imran Tahir bowled really well today, and Morne Morkel has been outstanding, those are the two standout performers today," said Russell Domingo, the Proteas coach.

South Africa's chase began on a tough note with Stiaan van Zyl falling to Ashwin yet again. Tahir failed as a nightwatchman on the second consecutive evening. South Africa need another 278 to script an unlikely victory.




India (first innings) 215

South Africa (first innings) (Overnight 11/2)
Dean Elgar b Ashwin 7
Stiaan van Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 0
Imran Tahir b Jadeja 4
Hashim Amla c Rahane b Ashwin 1
AB de Villiers c and b Jadeja 0
Faf du Plessis b Jadeja 10
JP Duminy lbw b Mishra 35
Dane Vilas b Jadeja 1
Simon Harmer b Ashwin 13
Kagiso Rabada not out 6
Morne Morkel c and b Ashwin 1
Extras (lb) 1
Total (all out, 33.1 overs) 79
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (van Zyl, 3.1 overs), 2-9 (Imran Tahir, 6.5), 3-11 (Elgar, 9.5), 4-12 (Amla, 11.1), 5-12 (de Villiers, 12.3), 6-35 (du Plessis, 16.6), 7-47 (Vilas, 22.2), 8-66 (Harmer, 27.2), 9-76 (Duminy, 32.1), 10-79 (Morkel, 33.1)

Ishant Sharma 2-1-4-0
Ravichandran Ashwin 16.1-6-32-5
Ravindra Jadeja 12-3-33-4
Amit Mishra 3-0-9-1

India (second innings)
Murali Vijay c Amla b Morkel 5
Shikhar Dhawan c Vilas b Imran Tahir 39
Cheteshwar Pujara b Duminy 31
Virat Kohli c du Plessis b Imran Tahir 16
Ajinkya Rahane c Duminy b Imran Tahir 9
Rohit Sharma c Elgar b Morkel 23
Wriddhiman Saha c Amla b Imran Tahir 7
Ravindra Jadeja b Harmer 5
Ravichandran Ashwin lbw b Morkel 7
Amit Mishra b Imran Tahir 14
Ishant Sharma not out 1
Extras (b 8, lb 5, nb 3) 16
Total (all out in 46.3 overs) 173
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Vijay, 4.2 overs), 2-52 (Pujara, 17.3), 3-97 (Dhawan, 26.5), 4-102 (Kohli, 28.1), 5-108 (Rahane, 30.3), 6-122 (Saha, 34.1), 7-128 (Jadeja, 35.3), 8-150 (Ashwin, 41.4), 9-171 (R Sharma, 45.4), 10-173 (Mishra, 46.3)

Morne Morkel 10-5-19-3
Simon Harmer 18-3-64-1
Kagiso Rabada 5-1-15-0
JP Duminy 2-0-24-1
Imran Tahir 11.3-2-38-5

South Africa (second innings) (target 310 runs)
Dean Elgar batting 10
Stiaan van Zyl c R Sharma b Ashwin 5
Imran Tahir lbw b Mishra 8
Hashim Amla batting 3
Extras (b 4, lb 1, nb 1) 6
Total (two wickets in 14 overs) 32
Fall of wickets: 1-17 (van Zyl, 7.4 overs), 2-29 (Imran Tahir, 11.1)

Ishant Sharma 3-1-6-0
Ravichandran Ashwin 6-2-12-1
Ravindra Jadeja 4-2-6-0
Amit Mishra 1-0-3-1

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