India's Virat Kohli celebrates the wicket of South Africa's Faf du Plessis during the fourth day. Photo: Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo

India need just three wickets to win the series against South Africa, with one Test left. 

In another depressing session for the tourists, they lost three wickets, as India pushed the accelerator in search of a series win, that would secure them the Freedom Trophy. 

South Africa were 172/7 at tea on day 2 in Pune with Keshav Maharaj on 17 and Vernon Philander on 29. The Proteas still trail India by 154  runs.

Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on at the start of play, with his side leading by 326 runs, after they’d bowled out South Africa for 275 on Saturday. India had scored 601/5, thanks mainly to Kohli’s highest Test score of 254 not out. 

South Africa lost four wickets in the first session, and it didn’t go much better for them after lunch. Quinton de Kock missed an attempted slog-sweep and was bowled off the eighth ball after the interval for five.

Temba Bavuma, who gave one of the more forthright press conferences at the end of the third day’s play, claiming that perhaps he wasn’t good enough to play Test cricket, then looked to assert himself having been moved one spot down the order to no.5

Bavuma produced some elegant drives, and one powerful pull shot off Ravi Jadeja. However having seemingly gotten through the most difficult period of his innings - he then pushed hard at another delivery from Jadeja and was beautifully caught at slip by Ajinkye Rahane. Having scored 38, Bavuma should be furious with himself. He’d grown accustomed to conditions but then wasted the chance to go on and make a much needed score of substance. That has been the case for many of the South African batsmen, who haven’t followed the disciplined example set by the Indian batsmen throughout this series. 

Just as South Africa have been out-batted over the course of the first two Tests, so have the been out-bowled. That India’s spinners would be better than South Africa’s is understandable, but that India’s seamers would perform the Proteas’ unit will be a big surprise to everyone, especially as India’s best fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, is not even playing this series. 

Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma have been more patient, meaner and more accurate than their South African counterparts. 

Senuran Muthusamy was the victim of nasty short ball from Shami that he could only fend to Rohit Sharma at second slip after he’d made nine. 

Maharaj and Philander, who’d shared a stand of 109 for the ninth wicket in first innings, were once more left to attempt to provide a modicum of respectability to the South African scorecard. At tea, the pair’s eighth wicket partnership was worth 43 runs. 

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