South Africa two down in chase of 310

South Africa two down in chase of 310

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South Africa lost the wickets of Van Zyl and Imran Tahir, after India set them a target of 310 on the second day of the third Test at Nagpur. The Proteas, who were bundled out for 79 in the first innings, restricted India to a paltry 173 in the second innings at Jamtha.

Brief Scores: India 215 (Vijay 40, Harmer 4-78, Morkel 3-35) and 173 (Dhawan 39, Tahir 5-38) lead South Africa 79 (Duminy 35, Ashwin 5-32, Jadeja 4-33) and 32 for 2 (Elgar 10*, Ashwin 1/12, Mishra 1/3) by 277 runs

12 wickets fell on the first day of the third Test; on the second day 20 more fell. That is the most number of wickets to fall in a day in Tests in India equalling the 20 wickets that fell on the third day of the India- Australia Test in November 2004 at the Wankhede stadium.

In the morning session, India folded up the South African innings before the lunch break. The Proteas were 12/5 at one stage, with Amla, de Villiers and Elgar going back in quick succession. Apart from JP Duminy, who top-scored with 35, all other Proteas batsmen were send back cheaply by the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja. At the end of South African innings, Ashwin had picked up his fourteenth five-wicket haul and Jadeja added four more wickets to his brilliant comeback. South Africa’s total of 79 in the first innings is the lowest Test total by a team against India in the longest format of the game.

Going into lunch, India were in a great position with a first innings lead of 136 and a second innings score of 7 for no loss. Right after lunch, India lost the first wicket when Vijay nicked a ball outside off-stump to Amla in the slips. Dhawan and Pujara combined to produce a 44-run partnership, until Pujara missed a straight ball from Duminy. After Pujara’s departure for 31, Dhawan and Kohli extended India’s score closer to the 100-mark. Imran Tahir started India’s collapse just before tea, picking up Dhawan, Kohli and Rahane. At tea, India were 108 for 5 with Rohit and Saha yet to open their account.

Tahir continued his destruction after tea to remove Saha. Harmer also struck from the other end to remove Jadeja and send India to a position of 128 for 7. Rohit Sharma stuck at one end and tried to rescue the Indian innings through a couple of lusty blows. Morkel, however, joined Tahir to soon remove Ashwin and Sharma to increase India’s struggle. Tahir completed his fifer with Mishra’s wicket and to finish off Indian innings for 173.

Chasing a target of 310, South Africa had a steady start with openers Elgar and Van Zyl negotiating the Indian spinners. Ashwin took his sixth wicket of the day to strike the first blow by removing Van Zyl. Second time in a row, Imran Tahir was send as the night-watchman and he failed for the second time with Mishra trapping Tahir. Amla and Elgar negotiated the last few balls to set up an exciting third day at Jamtha.  

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