Pune Test: India close in on win as South Africa totter at 74/4
Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets as India reduced South Africa to 74/4 after enforcing a follow on in the second innings at lunch on Day 4 of the second Test here on Sunday.
The Proteas stare at an innings defeat as they still trail by 252 runs with ‘keeper Quinton de Kock (1 batting) and Temba Bavuma (2 batting) at the crease.
The session though belonged to India stumper Wriddhiman Saha’s brilliance behind the stumps as the 34-year old took a stunning one-handed diving catch off Umesh Yadav’s delivery to dismiss Theunis De Bruyn (8) in the sixth over of the innings.
Saha’s effort left all his teammates amused as skipper Virat Kohli came running to congratulate the dimunitive wicketkeeper whom he hailed as the best in the world few days back.
Saha had taken a similar catch to remove the same batsman in the first essay, flying to his right to grab the ball with both hands right in front of first slip off Umesh’s bowling to dismiss de Bruyn as the tourists slumped to 53/5 on Day 3.
The Proteas were eventually bowled out for 275, still 326 runs behind India’s mammoth first innings score of 601/5d.
The script did not change in their second dig as Ishant Sharma first trapped Aiden Markram (0)) in front. de Bruyn was next to go as skipper Faf du Plessis promoted himself up the order and came out to bat at No.4.
Along with opener Dean Elgar, the pair added 49 runs for the third wicket before du Plessis’ time at the crease came to an end as Ashwin had him caught behind with Saha taking the catch on his third attempt.
Du Plessis took 54 balls to get to 5 but his grind was done as Elgar continued to fight on at the other end. Mohammed Shami bowled probing lines but Elgar managed to reach 48 from 72 balls with the help of eight fours before holing out to Umesh at mid-off Ashwin.
On Day 2, Ashwin had snared four wickets to dismantle South Africa with the assistance Umesh (3/37) and Shami (2/44). Keshav Maharaj hit a career-best 72 but that was not enough as the tourists were all out for 275.
Brief scores: 1st innings: India 601/5d; South Africa 275; 2nd innings: 74/4 (Dean Elgar 48, R Ashwin 2/8).