Firing Proteas close in on victory

2018-01-08 15:21
Vernon Philander (Gallo)

Cape Town – The Proteas are fired up and charging towards victory in the first Test against India at Newlands.

India, chasing 208 for victory, were 82/7 at tea.

LIVE: SA v India - 1st Test, Day 4

The equation is simple: South Africa need 3 more wickets for victory while India need 126 more runs.

Remarkably, 15 wickets had fallen inside the first two sessions and the match will now almost certainly be over inside four days, which is even more remarkable given that the whole of Day 3 was washed out.

South Africa would have gutted with their batting display on day four, having added just 65 runs in the first session and conceding eight wickets to be bowled out for 130.

Only AB de Villiers (35) offered any resistance and the desperation of the Proteas batting situation was highlighted by Dale Steyn, ruled out of the series and in a moonboot at the start of the day, hobbling out to bat at No 11.

Hashim Amla (3), Faf du Plessis (0) and Quinton de Kock (8) all failed while there was no contribution from the lower order this time around.

The Proteas embraced in a huddle at the start of the second session, and set about their business.

India, though, got off to a solid start and at 30/0 it looked like the Proteas had left themselves too much to do.

But then things started happening.

Morne Morkel (2/29) made the breakthrough in the eighth over when he bounced out Shikhar Dhawan (16) - substitute Chris Morris taking a sitter at gully.

In the very next over, De Villiers pulled off a superb catch at third slip to get rid of Murali Vijay (13) off Vernon Philander (3/22).

When Morkel had Cheteshwar Pujara caught behind for 4, India were in trouble at 39/3.

That brought Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma together, and that partnership was considered crucial to the Indian cause.

They put up a fight and combined for 32 for the fourth wicket, but when the skipper was dismissed by Philander India had their backs against the wall once more.

A full Philander delivery hit Kohli (28) straight in front, and South Africa’s opening bowler didn’t even bother appealing as he ran through to his team-mates to celebrate.

Kohli reviewed the decision, but it was only ever going to be out.

In the very next over, Kagiso Rabada (2/30) thought he had bounced out Sharma only for Keshav Maharaj to make a meal of his attempted catch off the backward square leg boundary.

It didn’t matter, though, as Sharma (10) was on his bicycle in the very next over when he chopped on a shortish delivery from Philander.

That brought first innings hero Dinesh Pandya to the wicket, but he lasted just five balls before he edged Rabada to De Villiers at gully.

With Pandya gone for 1, India were 77/6 and there seemed no way back for them. 

Rabada had his second with the last ball before tea, trapping Saha LBW for 8, and all but securing a memorable win for the Proteas.

At tea, Ravichandran Ashwin (1*) was at the crease.


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South Africa v India, Cape Town 18:00
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