Visakhapatnam, Oct 4: Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock became the first two South African batsmen to score Test hundreds in India since 2010 as the opener and the wicketkeeper batsman led visitors’ valiant fightback on day three of the series-opener, here today.
After resuming the day at 39 for three, South Africa ended the day at 385 for eight to frustrate the Indian bowlers.
Elgar (160) and Faf du Plessis (55) shared 115 runs for the fifth wicket before Quinton de Kock (111) joined the centurion in the middle.
Du Plessis’ was the only wicket to fall in the extended afternoon session when Ravichandran Ashwin had the South African captain caught at leg gully against the run of play.
The pitch did not appear to have any demon in it but nonetheless it was a remarkable recovery from South Africa considering they were reeling at 39 for three at stumps on day two. The
Elgar and de Kock showed exemplary skills while batting in testing sub-continental conditions to score their Test hundreds. They are the irst South Africans to score Test tons in India since Hashim Amla’s feat in 2010.
Indian spinners posed the biggest threat going into day three, however the duo of Elgar and Quinton tackled them by mixing caution with aggression.
They took the aerial route at the slightest opportunity to release pressure, smashing four sixes to go with 14 boundaries.
Elgar got to the three figures in style, dispatching Ashwin for a spectacular six over the cow corner.
Earlier, after du Plessis’ dismissal in the 58th over, de Kock joined Elgar in taking the attack to the spinners.
The wicketkeeper batsman batted in limited overs mode, collecting 16 fours and 2 sixes. Running out of options, India also tried part-time spinners Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma but to little effect.
Considering what transpired in the final session yesterday, South Africa were expected to surrender rather quickly but Elgar, Du Plessis and de Kock played with positive intent against the Indian spinners.
While Ashwin and Jadeja got more purchase out of the surface than the South Africa spinners, the pitch did not appear to have demons in it. The odd ball, though, did jump off the wicket.
Ashwin, who looked menacing in the final session yesterday, could not get a wicket in the morning, but still emerged pick of the bowlers by taking 5 wickets in his 41 overs, conceding 128 runs, while Ravindra Jadeja took 2 wickets. Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma also claimed one wicket each.
The trio of Elgar, Du Plessis and Quinton were not afraid to use their feet against spinners, playing some lofted shots with utmost ease.
Elgar made his intentions clear early on by going for the loft over mid-on even though it was a mishit for four. He grew in confidence from there on and was successful in executing the aerial hits and shots through the ground.
Elgar, who liked all South African batsmen had a forgettable tour of India four year ago, brought his 14th Test fifty with a single in the 40th over. A little later, the southpaw smashed Jadeja for two sixes and a four in the same over.
The luck was also on his side when he was on 74 as Saha dropped a sharp catch off Jadeja.
Pacer Ishant Sharma picked up the sole wicket to fall in the session when he got one to jag back in sharply and trap Temba Bavuma (18) in front of the stumps.
On the second ball of the day, Bavuma had gone for a lazy drive off a full ball from Ishant but since there was no second slip, the edge flew for four. (PTI)
India 1st Innings: 502/7 declared
South Africa 1st Innings: (Overnight 39 for 3)
Dean Elgar c Pujara b Jadeja 160
Aiden Markram b Ashwin 5
Theunis de Bruyn c Saha b Ashwin 4
Dane Piedt b Jadeja 0
Temba Bavuma lbw b I Sharma 18
Faf du Plessis c Pujara b Ashwin 55
Quinton de Kock b Ashwin 111
Senuran Muthusamy not out 12
Vernon Philander b Ashwin 0
Keshav Maharaj not out 3
Extras: (B-8, LB-4, NB-5) 17
Total: (for 8 wickets in 118 overs) 385
Bowling: Ishant Sharma 14-2-44-1, Mohammed Shami 15-3-40-0, Ravichandran Ashwin 41-11-128-5, Ravindra Jadeja 37-4-116-2, Hanuma Vihari 9-1-38-0, Rohit Sharma 2-1-7-0.