South Africa's bowler Keshav Maharaj, left, celebrates after dismissing India's Mayank Agarwal during the fourth day of the first cricket test match against India in Visakhapatnam, India, PIcture: Mahesh Kumar A./AP

First Test, Day 4, Tea

India: 502/7 & 175/1 (Sharma 84*, Pujara 75*)

South Africa: 431 all out (Elgar 160, De Kock 111, Ashwin 7/145)

India lead by 246 runs 

Rohit Sharma’s brilliance along with a solid Cheteshwar Pujara helped India extend their advantage during the second session on day four of the first Test at Visakhapatnam.

With the cushion of a 71-run lead, Sharma and Pujara put the early loss of first-innings double-centurion Mayank Agarwal behind them to put together an unbroken 154-run stand for the second wicket. This pushed India’s overall lead to 246 runs.

The South African bowlers, particularly the spinners, once again failed to contain Sharma who was looking for his second century of the Test.

Proteas off-spinner Dane Piedt was far more incisive second time around, and was desperately unlucky not to have Sharma caught on the boundary when Senuran Muthusamy’s toe touched the rope, but the dashing opener continued to play with all the freedom that has often been prevalent during his epic one-day knocks.

Pujara was more sedate at the start of his innings, requiring 62 balls for his first eight runs, but found his rhythm as the session progressed. In fact, his next 67 runs have come off just 77 balls as India look to move to lead of close to 350 runs by stumps in order to send the Proteas back in.

This would prove a formidable challenge for the visitors as they would have to survive a bit of the final session, plus three more on Sunday to avoid defeat.

Considering the ball has turned appreciably during India’s second innings this afternoon, the batsmen would duly have their work cut out again. 

IOL Sport