Nagpur: India seized control of the third Test in Nagpur on Thursday after South Africa, shot out for a record low of 79, fumbled again in their chase of a tough target. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin finished with five for 32 and Jadeja took four for 33 on a dusty surface at the VCA stadium to bowl South Africa out in 33.1 overs, giving India a first-innings lead of 136 runs.
India were themselves dismissed for 173 runs in their second knock, setting the top-ranked Proteas an improbable target of 310 on a pitch where the ball is turning sharply and keeping low. South Africa, needing a win to level the four-Test series, ended the second day’s play on 32 for two, with Dean Elgar unbeaten on 10 and skipper Hashim Amla on three. The tourists will start the third day requiring 278 runs more on a dicey pitch that has already claimed 32 wickets over the first two days — 20 of them on Thursday itself.
Targets of over 300 runs have been chased successfully just once on Indian soil — by the home team which made 387-4 to defeat England in Chennai in 2008. Starting the day at 11-2, the Proteas suffered a sensational collapse as they lost three wickets for one run in the first four overs to slip to 12-5. The world’s number one Test side were at that stage in danger of falling below their lowest ever total of 30, but a defiant 35 by JP Duminy saved them the blushes. But South Africa’s meagre score was the lowest total by any team against India, coming in below Sri Lanka’s 82 in Chandigarh in 1990.
Proteas’ coach Russell Domingo refused to criticise the pitch conditions and insisted all was not lost for the tourists yet. “Some strange things have happened in this game before,” Domingo said. “We are obviously a long way behind in this Test at the moment, but we are not discounting ourselves just yet. “If you’re winning the series, it is easy to criticise the pitch, but when you’re behind in the series, it is difficult to do so. “You have to give India credit. They have prepared wickets that suit their style of play and their spinners have been really good. They have bowled outstandingly well and we have not batted as well as we can.”
Amla’s poor run in the series continued when he gloved an intended sweep off Ashwin to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips after the ball bounced off the wicket-keeper. Amla, who scored 43, 0 and seven in the three previous innings, managed just a single run this time before walking off even before the umpire gave him out. Dangerman AB de Villiers failed to score while Faf du Plessis was bowled for 10 when the batsman attempted an ugly heave.
Ashwin slams double standards of outrage against Indian pitches:
Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Thursday questioned all those who are critical of Indian pitches offering substantial turn asking why no one raises a question when an Ashes Test at Trent bridge ends in just a shade over two days. The feisty off-spinner also did not forget to take a dig at the South African tracks like the one in Johannesburg where he did not get any purchase from a fifth day track back in December 2013. “I did not complain after Johannesburg (Te-st). I was dropped for a year after that. And, I am not going to complain pla-ying here. There’s no reason why I should have complaints. Swing, seam and bounce for two days at Trent Bridge (referring to Ashes) match over. I don’t know what that’s about,” ashwin could not hide his sarcasm when asked about South African batsmen being greeted with turning tracks.
The Tamil Nadu tweaker said that learning to play spin also requires skill. “What is the problem about spin and bounce? It is good to have even spin and bounce, isn’t it? It’s about skills for batsmen to play and counter it,” Ashwin put forth his viewpoint. Ashwin also did not seem amused by the fact that focus of discussion during the Test series has been the nature of tracks. “The talks about the pitch are getting out of hand. That’s straight from my heart, you can beg to differ with me. There are enough good cricketers from both sides that you can talk about,” he shot back.
India (1st innings): 215
South Africa (1st innings): D. Elgar b Ashwin 7, S. van Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 0, I. Tahir b Jadeja 4, H. Amla c Rahane b Ashwin 1, AB de Villiers c and b Jadeja 0, F. du Plessis b Jadeja 10, JP Duminy lbw b Mishra 35, D. Vilas b Jadeja 1, S. Harmer b Ashwin 13, K. Rabada (not out) 6, M. Morkel c and b Ashwin 1. Extras (lb-1) 1. Total (in 33.1 overs) 79.
FoW: 1-4, 2-9, 3-11, 4-12, 5-12, 6-35, 7-47, 8-66, 9-76.
Bowling: Sharma 2-1-4-0, Ashwin 16.1-6-32-5, Jadeja 12-3-33-4, Mishra 3-0-9-1.
India (2nd innings): M. Vijay c Amla b Morkel 5, S. Dhawan c Vilas b Tahir 39, C. Pujara b Duminy 31, V. Kohli c du Plessis b Tahir 16, A. Rahane c Duminy b Tahir 9, R. Sharma
c Elgar b Morkel 23, W. Saha c Amla b Tahir 7, R. Jadeja b Harmer 5, R. Ashwin lbw b Morkel 7, A. Mishra b Tahir 14, I. Sharma (not out) 1. Extras (b-8, lb-5, nb-3) 16. Total (in 46.3 overs) 173.
FoW: 1-8, 2-52, 3-97, 4-102, 5-108, 6-122, 7-128, 8-150, 9-171.
Bowling: Morkel 10-5-19-3, Harmer 18-3-64-1, Rabada 5-1-15-0, Duminy 2-0-24-1, Tahir 11.3-2-38-5.
South Africa (2nd innings): D. Elgar (batting) 10, S. van Zyl c R. Sharma b Ashwin 5, I. Tahir lbw b Mishra 8, H. Amla (batting) 3. Extras (b-4, lb-1, nb1) 6. Total (for two
wickets in 14 overs) 32.
FoW: 1-17, 2-29.
Bowling: Sharma 3-1-6-0, Ashwin 6-2-12-1, Jadeja 4-2-6-0, Mishra 1-0-3-1.
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