Ultra-defensive SA hold up India’s victory push in Delhi Test | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Ultra-defensive SA hold up India’s victory push in Delhi Test

Team India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will look for an unassailable lead of about 450 to 500 runs before putting South Africa in to bat on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test in New Delhi on Sunday.

India vs South Africa 2015 Updated: Dec 06, 2015 17:04 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

Skipper Hashim Amla led South Africa’s ultra-defensive batting tactics in a dreary and desperate approach, leaving India bowlers toiling to break through for victory on the fourth day of the final Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday.

Ajinkya Rahane provided a high in the morning after becoming only the fifth Indian batsmen to score a century in each innings of a Test, remaining 100 not out to follow up on his 127 in the first innings. Skipper Virat Kohli declared the second innings at 267 for five, an insurmountable lead of 480, half an hour before lunch.

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Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin provided an early breakthrough, taking the wicket of Dean Elgar, but Amla, struggling for form in the series, plodded on. He scored his first run off the 46th ball he faced, and later his third-wicket partnership with the usually attack-minded AB de Villiers got going only after 63 deliveries.

South Africa, skittled out for 121 in their first innings, were 72 for two at stumps, off exactly 72 overs.

A large Sunday crowd, hoping to savour India’s push for victory, was as frustrated as the home team’s bowlers on a Kotla pitch which played slow and low but did not develop the kind of cracks the bowlers could have exploited. It was a huge contrast to the turning tracks in the previous three Tests.

South Africa scored just 35 runs in 34 overs between lunch and tea and 32 runs from 33 overs in the final session. They made just 49 runs in the first 50 overs, the least runs scored in the first 50 overs of a Test innings since 2002.

In the morning, Rahane completed his sixth Test century with a flurry of shots, hitting left-arm spinner Dean Elgar and leg-spinner Imran Tahir for sixes before taking a single to reach the landmark. Kohli’s hopes of a century on home ground were dashed when he fell leg-before for 88, trapped on the front foot by a delivery from paceman Kyle Abbott which kept low.

The 154-run fifth wicket partnership between Rahane and Kohli had left India hoping for a four-day victory, only for South Africa’s stubborn resistance.

Rahane, by scoring a century in each innings, emulated Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli.

India lead the series 2-0.

Read | Kohli, Rahane put India firmly in control of Delhi Test vs SA