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Cool Keegan Petersen sets platform for possible Proteas series win

Keegan Petersen is applauded off the field after a key half-century for the Proteas. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Keegan Petersen is applauded off the field after a key half-century for the Proteas. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 14, 2022

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Cape Town – Just 41 runs to go. That’s all that stands between the Proteas and a thrilling series win over India at Newlands on Friday.

Despite the loss of Keegan Petersen for 82, South Africa edged closer and closer to victory on a hot day four in Cape Town.

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The hosts went to lunch at 171/3, with Rassie van der Dussen on 22 and Temba Bavuma on 12, and will hope to wrap things up soon after lunch.

But it certainly wasn’t all plain sailing for the Proteas batters in the morning session. They survived some probing bowling from Mohammed Shami, who got the ball to move away appreciably from right-handers Petersen and Van der Dussen.

It was initially slow going on the scoreboard, after the Proteas started the day on 101/2 and needing a further 111 runs for victory.

There was drama early on when India appealed for a caught-behind dismissal against Van der Dussen off Shami’s bowling, but umpire Marais Erasmus gave it not out.

Indian captain Virat Kohli reviewed the decision, and the TV replays weren’t conclusive enough to send Van der Dussen – who was on 12 at the time – on his way, with the bat scraping the ground at the same time as the ball passed the outside edge.

Kohli was again animated in showing his displeasure with the decision, remonstrating with Erasmus, but to no avail.

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Petersen gained in confidence as the session wore on, and played a sublime back-foot drive through the covers off Umesh Yadav for a boundary.

There was further drama when Petersen, on 59, edged Jasprit Bumrah to first slip, but Cheteshwar Pujara dropped a straight-forward catch – at least for a slip fielder – with the Proteas on 126/2.

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The South Africans reached the drinks break on 148/2, needing 64 more runs to win, but soon afterwards, Petersen lost his wicket. Shardul Thakur generated steep bounce off a length delivery, and the right-hander chopped the ball on to his stumps to be out for 82 – his highest Test score, a knock that should certainly establish the Knights star at No 3 for the foreseeable future.

Bavuma joined Van der Dussen in the middle, and after a few quiet overs, they managed to stroke a few boundaries to relieve some of the pressure before lunch.

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Just before the break, though, Van der Dussen survived a lbw review from Thakur while on 21, with the TV replay showing that the ball would’ve gone over the stumps.

@ashfakmohamed

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