India stretch lead to 329

India who have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-test series, walked out to bat for the second time in the match.

Skipper Virat Kohli and first innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane conjured a 59-run partnership after a mini-collapse as India reached 116 for 4 at tea against South Africa on the third day of the fourth cricket Test, here today.

India’s overall lead has swelled to 329 with Kohli again looking in good nick — unbeaten on 39 — alongside the ever-dependable Rahane (22).

The Indian captain so far has faced 63 balls hitting five boundaries while Rahane has struck two boundaries facing 82 deliveries.

Morne Morkel was the best bowler in view for the Proteas with figures of 3/22 in 14 overs — the stand-out delivery being the scorching yorker which dismissed Shikhar Dhawan.

Rahane joined his skipper with India reeling at 57 for four and they coolly took the score past three-figure mark.

Their 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket was achieved in only 81 minutes after playing 101 balls.

Obviously the huge first innings lead and the amount of time left in the game ensured that they could play freely.

Kohli hit a glorious cover drive off Abbott, one past backward point off Morkel and tucked one to square leg boundary as he quickly reached 30.

Rahane, on the other hand, was happy to nudge and push around letting his captain play the role of an aggressor. In between, a stand—out shot was a clip off his hips to dispatch Morkel to the boundary.

Earlier, India started the day on a disastrous note, losing Vijay to a lethal short ball bowled by Morkel. The tall speedster hit the back of length area and the ball kicked up viciously.

The normally technically sound Vijay tried to awkwardly fend it off to get out of the way. The ball looked like brushing his armguards before being taken by Dane Vilas behind the stumps as he timed his jump to perfection.

This team management promoted Rohit Sharma at No 3 trying to give him some valuable time with less pressure and a sizeable lead on the board. But the Mumbai lad again disappointed his fans as Morkel bowled one fuller that move a shade to rattle his off-stump.

Cheteshwar Pujara (28), who sustained a bruise in his forearm yesterday and could not field, carried on manfully till lunch session.

Pujara whipped Dane Piedt through midwicket for a boundary even though he faced some difficulty while facing Kyle Abbott before getting a couple of streaky boundaries.

Dhawan (21), however, was more assured against Abbott and twice hit off-drives to collect boundaries but was apparently more cautious against the spinners as he failed to get the scoreboard moving during his 86-ball stay.

The Pujara-Dhawan duo added 45 runs but South Africa again struck in the post-lunch session.

First it was Pujara, who tried to cut one from Tahir that stayed low and knocked his off-stump.

But then it took a beauty from Morkel to get rid of Dhawan. The speedster came from round the wicket and bowled a toe-crushing inswinging yorker that hit the base of leg stump even as the local boy tried bringing his bat down on time.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:18:55 AM |

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