Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar have got some runs for the Proteas against India. Photo: BackpagePix

First Test, Day 3, Lunch

India: 502/7 (Sharma 176, Agarwal 215, Maharaj 3/189)

SA: 153/4 (Elgar 76*, Du Plessis 48*)

South Africa trail by 349 runs

South Africa have enjoyed their most productive session on third morning of the first Test in Visakhapatnam.

Opening batsman Dean Elgar and captain Faf du Plessis led the fightback after the early loss of Temba Bavuma (18) to forge an unbroken 90-run partnership for the fifth wicket. The deficit still remains a hefty 349 runs – and still 149 runs away from the follow-on target of 302 – but the duo at least took the fight to Virat Kohli’s team for the first time in this Test.

The essential component to the recovery was the positive intent both batsmen showed at the crease. Elgar was his resilient self, but mixed it up with an aggressive attitude particularly against the spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra JadeJa.

Elgar utilized the sweep shot to good effect, and also advanced down the wicket to loft the ball over both long-on and long-off. The left-hander was particularly severe on the previously impressive Jadeja, even taking 16 runs off one particular over through two sixes and a boundary.

The runs kept flowing at a good rate with South Africa increasing their overall run-rate to just over three runs per over for the first time in the Test. Elgar richly deserved his half-century, raising his bat to the applause of his teammates and coaching staff in the dressingroom.

Du Plessis fed off this energy and started his innings in impressive fashion through three boundaries. The skipper ensured the momentum was not lost by remaining positive against Ashwin too.

The comeback was crucial after Bavuma was trapped LBW early in the piece to a delivery that kept alarming low from Ishant Sharma. At that stage South Africa may have feared the worst, but their two most experienced batsmen have at least kept India at bay for the rest of the morning.

Elgar has profited from some good fortune when wicket-keeper W. Saha put down a relatively difficult chance off Ashwin, when he failed to gather a low outside edge standing up to the off-spinner.

South Africa, though, will take all the luck they can muster for their remains an almighty challenge ahead of the two batsmen and the remaining ones waiting in the dugout. 


IOL Sport