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Millennium Post

Proteas wilt under spin pressure as India eye series

A staggering 20 wickets fell on a dramatic second day as India shot out South Africa for a record-low first innings score of 79 before setting the visitors a formidable target of 310 to win the third and penultimate cricket Test and clinch the series.

At stumps at the VCA Ground, Jamtha, South Africa were struggling at 32 for two with opener Dean Elgar (10) and captain Hashim Amla (3) battling it out at the crease after the dismissals of Stiaan van Zyl (5) and night watchman Imran Tahir (8).

On a pitch that saw vicious turn, a record 20 wickets fell during the day after the dozen on Wednesday to turn the contest into a lop-sided one in favour of the spinners.

This is the highest wicket-fall in a single day in India after 20 wickets fell in a day during the India versus Australia match in Mumbai, 2004.

India, after taking a handy lead of 136 runs, went for quick runs and were all out for 173 in the second, which left the visitors with more than three full days to get 278 more runs to win the game and keep the series alive for the fourth tie at Delhi commencing on December 3.

Considering the state of the pitch and the happenings of the first two days, the match is all set to end on the third day on Friday, most probably in favour of India that will mark an end to South Africa’s enviable nine-year unbeaten Test series away from home record as they are trailing the hosts 0-1 in the four-game rubber.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan (39), one-down Cheteshwar Pujara (31) and no. 6 Rohit Sharma (23) were the only batsmen in the Indian second innings to get into the 20s as leg-spinner Tahir picked up five wickets and speedster Morne Morkel got three.

In the morning itself expectations were high that the Indian spinners would create mayhem on the venomous track after the Proteas resumed at the overnight 11 for 2 in reply to the hosts’ modest tally of 215.

True to predictions, Ravichandran Ashwin (5 for 32), Ravindra Jadeja (4 for 33) and Amit Mishra (1 for 9) combined forces to slice through the nervous Proteas’ batting order and shoot them out for their 12th lowest Test score and their worst since readmission to international cricket in the early 1990s. The visitors lost eight wickets this morning after resuming at the overnight score, in one and a half hours’ batting during which they faced 24.1 overs. The South African innings, that commenced late last evening, lasted seven minutes over two hours and 33.1 overs.

Score Board
India 1st innings: 215 SA1st innings: (Overnight 11 for 2) Elgar b Ashwin 7 Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 0 Tahir b Jadeja 4 Amla c Rahane b Ashwin 1 de Villiers c&b Jadeja 0 du Plessis b Jadeja 10 Duminy lbw b Mishra 35 Vilas b Jadeja 1 Harmer b Ashwin 13 Rabada not out 6 Morkel c&b Ashwin 1 Extras (LB-1) 1 Total (33.1 overs) 79 

India 2nd innings: Vijay c Amla b Morkel 5 Dhawan c Vilas b Tahir 39 Pujara b Duminy 31 Kohli c du Plessis b Tahir 16 Rahane c Duminy b Imran Tahir 9 Sharma c Elgar b Morkel 23 Saha c Amla b Tahir 7 Jadeja b Harmer 5 Ashwin lbw b Morkel 7 Mishra b Tahir 14 Ishant not out 1 Extras: (B-8, LB-5, NB-3) 16 Total: (all out; 46.3 overs) 173 SA 2nd innings (target: 310 runs) Elgar batting 10 Zyl c Rohit b Ashwin 5 Tahir lbw b Mishra 8  Amla batting 3 Extras (B 4, LB 1, NB 1) 6 Total (2 wickets; 14 overs) 32
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