Rishabh Pant was nothing short of heroic on day 3, Thursday 13 January 2022, after he took the game by the scruff of its neck and rescued India’s 2nd innings.
With the test series between South Africa and India hanging in the balance, the pressure was on both teams to craft good performances on the third day of third, and final, test match between the two nations.
India started the day on 57/2 with a lead of 70 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli began the day at the crease.
South African bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen, relieved some pressure when they took two wickets in the first two overs of the day.
Marco Jansen struck on the second ball of the day when the ball flicked the gloves of Cheteswar Pujara. Keegan Petersen was on hand at leg slip to take the catch and dismiss Pujara for 9.
In the very next over, Kagiso Rabada found the edge of Rahane‘s glove. It carried through to the wicketkeeper, Kyle Verreyne, who fumbled the ball, but Dean Elgar was on hand at second slip to save his blushes.
The momentum the Proteas gained deteriorated slowly as the partnership between Pant and Kohli grew. Pant, looking to take the game to the South Africans, reached 50 runs just before the lunch break.
At lunch India were on 130-4, with a lead of 143.
Kohli was dismissed shortly after lunch, after scoring 29, by Ngidi who found the edge of his bat. The catch was taken beautifully by Aiden Markram at second slip.
The wicket of Kohli seemed to rejuvenate the energies of the South Africans.
After Kohli, the rest of the wickets were quick to fall. Ashwin was dismissed for 7, Thakur was dismissed for 5, Yadav and Shami were both dismissed for ducks. Jasprit Bumrah, who scored 2, was the final wicket to fall.
India were bowled out for 198, leaving South Africa to chase 212 to win the match at Newlands and ultimately: the series.
Rishabh Pant was the stand out batsman in India’s second innings. Pant reached his 4th test century in very difficult circumstances which made his knock all the more impressive.
On the bowling side of things, Marco Jansen continued his impressive form and ended with figures of 4/36. Kagiso Rabada took 3 wickets as Lungi Ngidi who was able to get the important wicket of Virat Kohli.
South African openers, Aiden Markrem and Dean Elgar, took to the middle after tea to begin the pursuit of 212 runs for victory.
Markram scored 16 runs before he was dismissed by Mohammad Shami. The South African opener attempted a drive. However, his attempt failed as he edged the ball into the hands of Lokesh Rahul at slip.
Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen kicked on despite an LBW scare for Elgar when Shami thought he got his man. Upon a review by the South African opener, the decision was overturned – much to the dismay of Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, who expressed his frustration by yelling at the stump mic.
Elgar was dismissed on the last ball of the day when he was caught by pant, diving to his right behind the stumps, off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa will resume day 4 on Friday 14 January on 101/2 with 111 runs to win and Keegan Petersen at the crease on 48*.
SOUTH AFRICA: Dean Elgar (capt), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi
INDIA: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav