Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara took India’s lead to 209 on day four of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park here on Wednesday.
At lunch, India are 79/3 in 32 overs with Kohli (18 not out) and Pujara (12 not out) being the unbeaten batters in a session where the tourists scored 63 runs for the loss of overnight pair KL Rahul and Shardul Thakur.
Resuming from 16/1 on day three, nightwatchman Thakur had a nervy time. He left balls outside the off-stump and even survived an lbw chance off Marco Jansen (DRS showed going over the stumps). Thakur fought back by flaying a powerful upper-cut over backward point off Jansen. But Kagiso Rabada got one to kick off from a length to take the outer edge of Thakur’s bat to Wiaan Mulder at third slip.
Pujara avoided a pair with a drive through mid-on off Ngidi. But on the fourth ball from the pacer, Pujara chipped to mid-wicket, where Rabada dropped a simple catch. Rahul, who picked easy leg-side boundaries while being cautious, chased a wide ball from Ngidi and edged to Dean Elgar at first slip.
Pujara looked good at the crease and pounced on width from Mulder with a cracking cut through off-side. Kohli, on the other hand, wristed flicks and glances off Ngidi and Mulder before hitting Rabada twice for boundaries through point, taking India to safety till lunch.
With the pitch still offering variable bounce and seam movement for keeping the pacers interested, it could be a fascinating second session in terms of what tactics India and South Africa will resort to.
Brief scores: India 327 in 105.3 overs and 79/3 in 32 overs (KL Rahul 23, Virat Kohli 18 not out, Marco Jansen 1/14, Kagiso Rabada 1/24) vs South Africa 197 all out in 62.3 overs (Temba Bavuma 52; Mohammed Shami 5/44).