Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took three wickets as South Africa bowled India out for 187 to take the opening day honours on a seaming wicket in the third and final test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
South Africa were six for one in reply at the close, with opener Dean Elgar (4) and nightwatchman Rabada (0) to resume on Thursday as the hosts look to build a sizeable first innings lead on a difficult pitch.
Aiden Markram (2) was the only South African wicket to fall as he edged a delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, with the pitch giving plenty of encouragement to both sides’ all-seam attacks.
The hosts will be pleased with their day’s work after India had won the toss and elected to bat, despite having dropped catches, eschewed what would have been a successful review and at times bowled too short and wide.
The key wicket was that of Virat Kohli (54), though he was twice dropped off relatively simple chances when on 11 and 34. He was finally removed when Lungi Ngidi (1-27) induced an edge to AB de Villiers at third slip.
De Villiers bruised the middle finger of his right hand in taking the catch and had to leave the field for treatment.
Cheteshwar Pujara (50) was the only other Indian batsman to post a half-century, with his patient innings taking 179 deliveries as he tried to stifle the home attack.He had a slice of early luck when given not out after Ngidi struck him on the pads. South Africa did not review umpire Ian Gould’s decision and replays showed the ball would have hit leg stump.
Pujara’s vigil came to an end when he edged all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (2-25) to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, one of five dismissals for the gloveman.
Rabada (3-39) was perhaps the pick of the home bowlers, both fast and accurate. He removed opener Murali Vijay (8), caught by De Kock, before grabbing the wickets of Ishant Sharma (0) and the stubborn Kumar (30).
Morne Morkel (2-47) and Vernon Philander (2-31) also chipped in with wickets but were guilty at times of bowling with too much width, failing to make the batsmen play.The home side had already claimed the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead but are chasing a first clean-sweep against India.
Patient Pujara proud of effort on “tough” Wanderers pitch
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said his side’s first innings 187 was “like scoring 300 on any normal pitch” and puts them on top after the opening day of the third and final test against South Africa on Wednesday.
South Africa are six for one in reply to India’s modest total and face a difficult day on Thursday as they look to build a first innings lead at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Batting at number three, Pujara took 54 balls to get off the mark as South Africa’s all-seam attack exploited a grassy pitch after India had won the toss and elected to bat.
He was eventually out for a battling 50 from 179 deliveries, tamely edging Andile Phehlukwayo to South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, but he was pleased with both his and the team’s batting efforts.
“It was one of the toughest pitches I have batted on and I really had to work hard to score some runs,” he told SuperSport after the close of play.“To be honest, I think we batted well. With the number of runs we have on the board, we think we can bowl them out (for less).”
India 1st innings: Murali Vijay c de Kock & b Rabada 8, Lokesh Rahul c de Kock & b Philander 0, Cheteshwar Pujara c de Kock & b Phehlukwayo 50, Virat Kohli (c) c de Villiers & b Lungi Ngidi 54, Ajinkya Rahane lbw Morne Morkel 9, Parthiv Patel (wk) c de Kock & b Morne Morkel 2, Hardik Pandya c de Kock & b Phehlukwayo 0, Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Phehlukwayo & b Rabada 30, Mohammed Shami c Rabada & b Philander 8, Ishant Sharma c du Plessis & b Rabada 0, Jasprit Bumrah not out 0.
Extras: 26. Total: 187/10.
Bowling: Morne Morkel 17-5-47-2, Vernon Philander 19-10-31-2, Kagiso Rabada 18.4-6-39-3, Lungisani Ngidi 15-7-27-1, Andile Phehlukwayo 7-1-25-2.
South Africa 1st innings: Dean Elgar not out 4, Aiden Markram c Parthiv Patel & b Bhuvneshwar 2, Kagiso Rabada not out 0.
Extras: 0. Total: 6/1.
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-2-3-1, Jasprit Bumrah 3-2-3-0.