Despite a struggle from South Africa captain Dean Elgar, Jasprit Bumrah’s two last-minute wickets helped India boost their chances of victory on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa here on Wednesday. Chasing a target of 305, South Africa scored 94 for one in their second innings till the end of the fourth day’s play. He is now 211 runs away from the target. India had scored 174 runs in their second innings. The record for the highest goal scorer in Centurion is held by England, who won in 2000-01 by scoring 251 runs in the fourth innings. The Meteorological Department, however, has predicted rain on the fifth day of the match on Thursday.
India had taken a 130-run lead after bowling out South Africa for 197 in the first innings after scoring 327 runs. On the fourth day at SuperSport Park, the bowlers also spoke. Thirteen wickets fell throughout the day but it was Elgar who displayed the fine sample of concentration required to play in such conditions. He is currently playing on 52 runs. However, Bumrah (2 for 22) added to his troubles. Mohammed Shami (1 for 29) took the new ball with Bumrah and bowled Aiden Markram (I) on his third ball. Keegan Pietersen (17) was the next batsman to be dismissed. Pietersen did not allow the wicket to fall for 12 overs with Elgar but the outswinger of Mohammad Siraj (1 for 25) was beyond his understanding, on which he caught behind the wicket.
Elgar along with Raisey van der Dussen batted strongly for the next 23 overs. Meanwhile, some balls took the edge of the bat and fell forward in the slips. In such a situation, the fast coming ball of Bumrah gave India important success by thumping the off-stump of Dussen (11 runs off 65 balls). After this he bowled Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (eight). Earlier, Rishabh Pant scored 34 runs in the second innings for India, while the second big score after that was extra runs (27). For South Africa, Kagiso Rabada (4 for 42), Marco Jensen (4 for 55) and Lungi Ngidi (2 for 31) took wickets.
Struggling to score runs, India’s three main batsmen, captain Virat Kohli (18), Cheteshwar Pujara (16) and Ajinkya Rahane (20) lost their wickets by playing irresponsible shots, while KL Rahul (23 runs off 74 balls), Pant and Ravichandran. Ashwin (14) became the victim of short pitch balls. Playing ahead of 16 runs for one wicket in the morning, India batted in the first session. In the meantime, he added 63 runs and lost the wickets of nightwatchman Shardul Thakur (10) and first innings centurion Rahul. He lost his remaining seven wickets in the second session and in the meantime added 95 runs. Rahul left several balls outside the off-stump. Meanwhile, a fast-rising ball from Ngidi hit his fingers for which he had to seek medical help. This disturbed his concentration and he caught Elgar standing at first slip on the ball going outside the off-stump of Ngidi.
Kohli looked to be in good form but after lunch, playing a loose shot on the first ball, he rewarded Jensen for his wicket. Pujara releases the outside balls of the off-stump. He was also given life support by Rabada in the first season. Pujara could not take advantage of it and Ngidi’s leg-side ball took the edge of his bat and went into the safe hands of Quinton de Kock. Rahane showed his confidence by hitting two fours and a six off Jenson’s successive deliveries but the same bowler’s short-pitch ball going off the off-stump on the leg side was not controlled by his hook, which was caught by Rossi van der Dussen at backward square leg. Caught easily.
Ashwin once stayed at the crease with the help of DRS but on the second occasion the decision of the third umpire also went against him. Pant hit six fours in his innings but was caught at mid-on in uncertainty to pull off Rabada’s short pitch delivery. After this it did not take long for the Indian innings to shrink.