One of the top players of 2023 in white ball cricket, Sri Lankan superstar Chamari Athapaththu has set her eyes on the big prize at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup later this year.
At lunch on the third day of the second Test at the Wanderers, India were 188/6 despite half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara and three wickets taken by Kagiso Rabada. Hanuma Vihari and Shardul Thakur are at the crease for India, who are leading by 161 runs at lunch.
An action-packed session saw India dominate the first hour, thanks to Rahane and Pujara being able to take advantage of South Africa’s wayward line and length. Rabada started to turn things around in the second session, taking four wickets and conceding 37 runs as the hosts bounced back.
With Pujara’s score of 85/2 on day two, he hit Marco Jansen for two fours through on-side to continue his impressive run. Rahane, however, smashed Jansen with a drive through the mid-off followed by an uppercut over the deep point.
Rahane continued to smash Rabada for boundaries as South Africa was unable to find a consistent line and length.
In 62 balls, Pujara reached his fifty, while two overs later, Rahane signed his half-century by hitting gully and point off Duanne Olivier.
South Africa bounced back in the second hour after India scored 66 runs in 14 overs during the first hour, including the partnership between Pujara and Rahane crossing the 100-run mark.
Rahane edged to Kyle Verreynne for the first wicket of the day. Rabada got a delivery to kick off from a length and Rahane edged to the keeper, ending the 111-run partnership. In the next over, Rabada trapped Pujara lbw with a big inswinger that hit him flush on the pads. After surviving an lbw on review off Olivier, Pujara was trapped lbw by Rabada with a big inswinger.
Rishabh Pant was then removed for a three-ball duck by Rabada. Having been hit on the gloves, Pant stepped out the next ball and tried to slog but Verreynne managed to edge it.
Lungi Ngidi caught Ravichandran Ashwin down the leg side after he hit some boundaries. Vihari and Thakur remained unbeaten off their second balls. If India wants to set a target of 200 and above for South Africa, it will depend on the duo.
Brief scores: India 202 & 188/6 in 44 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 58, Cheteshwar Pujara 53; Kagiso Rabada 3/54, Lungi Ngidi 1/34) lead South Africa 229 all out in 79.4 overs (Keegan Petersen 62; Shardul Thakur 7/61) by 161 runs.
(With inputs from IANS)