SA vs IND: In dark clouds of disarray, Pant's knock a silver lining for India

Somya Kapoor

Somya Kapoor

Author| Jan 13, 4:55 PM

Photo Credits: Twitter/BCCI
Photo Credits: Twitter/BCCI

There might have been a clear sky in Cape Town but there were dark clouds at Newlands. Clouds of disappointment, frustration and disarray in the Indian camp while playing on the third day of this deciding Test. 

Captain Virat Kohli and one of the most experienced lads in the unit, Cheteshwar Pujara had walked out in the middle to take the guard but the latter’s stay at the crease was a short one. 

Marco Jansen just took a couple of deliveries to give the hosts, first breakthrough of the day. The left-arm pacer bowled a short delivery to Pujara who clipped it uppishly only to find Keegan Petersen at leg gully. 

It seemed that the Proteas had come with a perfect plan and the execution was top-notch. The right-hander only managed to score 9 off 33.

Little did the visitors know that the pressure is going to mount as Ajinkya Rahane’s batting woes would continue to haunt him, the Indian team and the Indian fans. Kagiso Rabada got rid of Rahane who could only manage 1 off 9 deliveries with a furious short delivery bowled around the fourth stump channel. 

India were all of a sudden tottering at 58/4. 

Kohli, Pant perform rescue operation

India were on the back foot. They had lost two of the most crucial wickets in a span of less than two overs. The visitors needed someone to stick around and provide the resistance that was much needed. The onus was now on Rishabh Pant and Kohli who certainly didn’t disappoint. 

The left-right batting duo began the innings from scratch, played cautiously but Pant went for his strokes whenever he could. Kohli on the side was keen on not playing those outside off stump deliveries and frustrated the South African bowlers. 

The two batters steadied the ship for the Indian team and stitched a stand of 94 runs before Kohli finally departed for 29 off 143 deliveries as Lungi Ngidi had the last laugh. Kohli tried to drive the ball that was pitched way outside off stump but could only manage to edge it and Markram took a good catch. India were now 152/5.

Pant’s knock- A silver lining 

While Rishabh Pant lost partners at the other end, he was pretty stubborn with his shot selection. While he didn’t let the bowlers take an upper hand on him, the left-handed batter didn’t shy away from hitting away the bad deliveries to the boundary rope either. 

Pant notched up a fine ton eventually and remained unbeaten at 100 off 139, an innings that included four maximums and 6 fours during the course. 

Though, there were a couple of hiccups during his knock when he was roped twice but capitalised on the chances that he got in a brilliant manner. India eventually scored 198 before getting bundled out in the second and handed a target of 212 runs to South Africa. Jansen scalped four wickets while Rabada and Ngidi picked up three each.

Much-needed breakthrough 

Mohammed Shami had removed Aiden Markram early in the innings but a steady stand between Keegan Petersen and captain Elgar of 78 runs for the second wicket had made the visiting side pretty impatient. Kohli had tried almost all permutations and combinations but failed to break the partnership. 

He then went back to Bumrah who did what the doctor ordered. The right-arm pacer removed Elgar after he tried to negotiate a delivery going down the leg. The ball took the edge of the willow and Pant completed a decent catch behind the stumps to send Elgar back in the hut for 30. 

South Africa were 101/2, needing 111 to win when stumps were called on Day 3.  

  • Dean Elgar
  • Rishabh Pant
  • Jasprit Bumrah
  • IND
  • SA
  • IND vs RSA 2021-22

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