India's Rohit Sharma raises his bat after scoring a century during the fourth day of the first cricket test match against South Africa in Visakhapatnam, India on Saturday. Photo: Mahesh Kumar A/AP

First Test, Day 4, Stumps

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

South Africa: 431 & 11/1 (Elgar 2, Jadeja 1/3)

India lead by 384 runs

The Proteas face a battle of survival on the final day of the first Test at Visakhapatnam.

India captain Virat Kohli set the Proteas a mammoth 395 runs to win after yet another Rohit Sharma century set up India’s second innings 323/4. The visitors had done well to reduce the first innings deficit to just 71 runs earlier in the day, but Sharma (127) and Cheteshwar Pujara (81) combined for a superb 169-run partnership that set the home team on their way.

Sharma, like during his first innings 176, was once again destructive against the Proteas’ spin trio, with Keshav Maharaj conceding 5.86 runs per over, Dane Piedt 6.0 runs per over and Senuran Muthusamy 6.66.

Pujara fed of Sharma’s momentum after a sedate start that saw him score just eight runs off his first 62 balls, before finishing with 81 off only 147 balls. This allowed the remaining Indian batsmen Virat Kohli (31* off 25 balls), Ravidra Jadeja (40 off 32 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (27* off 17 balls) to play with great freedom that allowed the India’s spinners to have a crack at the Proteas before bad light brought an early close.

The nine overs that were possible was enough for Jadeja to claim the prized scalp of Dean Elgar. The Proteas was superb in the first innings, but on this occasion trapped LBW by a ball that kept low from the left-arm spinner. Umpire Richard Illingworth initially turned down the appeal, but Kohli’s review was upheld when the television replays showed that ball had indeed pitched in line with the stumps.

Aiden Markram and Theunis de Bruyn will begin South Africa’s fight for survival on day five as the Proteas look to escape Visakhapatnam with a draw.


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