India players celebrate a wicket on Sunday morning. Photo: @BCCI on twitter

CAPE TOWN – South Africa are hanging on by the slightest of margins on the final day of this first Test at Visakhapatnam.

The visitors lost seven wickets this morning for the addition of just 59 runs that killed off any chance of Faf du Plessis’ team hauling in the 395-run victory target. In fact, even survival has become near impossible with India requiring just two wickets to take a 1-0 series lead.

It has only been due to the lower-order resistance from Dane Piedt (32* off 56 balls) and Senuran Muthusamy (19* off 47 balls) that has kept India’s victory charge at bay. The pair have added 47 runs for the 9th wicket, but more importantly have spent over 15 overs at the crease.

With India’s spinners expected to create havoc on this final day, the unlikely chief destroyer for India was seam bowler Mohammed Shami. Although Ravichandran Ashwin brought about the initial breakthrough when Theunis de Bruyn chopped on to his stumps, it was Shami that tore the heart of out the Proteas batting unit.

Temba Bavuma was again cleaned up with a ball that kept low before captain Faf du Plessis misjudged a delivery outside his off-stump, while first innings centurion Quinton de Kock was also clean bowled. With all the three batsmen’s timber being rattled, South Africa’s castle was literally crashing down.

Like a hyena in the dark, Jadeja feasted on the Proteas’ raw carcass by following up with three wickets (Aiden Markram 39, Vernon Philander 0 and Keshav Maharaj 0) in one over. This left the visitors reeling at 70/8 with only Piedt and Kagiso Rabada to come.

Piedt, in particular, though has shown great courage against the Indian spinners since, combining good defence with aggression, to show the more senior batsmen in the Proteas team what could have been achieved had they shown a bit more application. 

First Test, Day 5, Lunch

India: 502/7 & 323/4 (Sharma 127, Pujara 81)

South Africa: 431 & 117/8 (Piedt 32*, Shami 3/21, Jadeja 4/51)

India lead by 278 runs

@ZaahierAdams

 

IOL Sport

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