South African batsmen Dean Elgar (160) and Quinton de Kock (111) scored centuries on Day 3 of the first Test match being played between India and South Africa at the ACA-VDCA Stadium. However, it was R Ashwin who finished with his 27th five-wicket haul to bring the Indian team slightly on top after the day’s play.
At stumps, South Africa’s score read 385/8 with Senuran Muthusamy and Keshav Maharaj out there in the middle, batting on 12 and 3 respectively. The South African team is still trailing by 117 runs and has two wickets in their bag to try and reduce the deficit or take an unlikely lead.
Despite dominating the first two sessions of the third day of the Test match, India made a comeback in the final session of the day as the spin duo of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked up wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja also went on to complete 200 Test wickets and became the fastest left-arm bowler to do so. Jadeja reached the landmark in his 44th Test match, leaving behind Rangana Herath who had taken 200 wickets in 47 Test matches.
Jadeja could have easily reached the feat in the first session of the third day but wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha dropped a catch of Dean Elgar and it was Elgar who turned out to be his 200th scalp as he was caught at the square leg boundary by Cheteshwar Pujara.
The first session of the day saw the South African batting unit put up a disciplined show as their captain Faf du Plessis hung in with the opening batsman, Elgar, after Temba Bavuma was dismissed by Ishant Sharma early in the session. Post that Du Plessis and Elgar showed remarkable composure and temperament as they added 115 runs for the fifth wicket before Ashwin removed Faf and got him caught at leg slip.
However, that was not the end of miseries for India as new batsman Quinton de Kock came in and started counter-attacking the Indian spinners. The pair even went past the previous stand and added 164 runs for the sixth wicket. Jadeja eventually broke the partnership and claimed his 200th Test wicket.
Post that Ashwin produced a brilliant spell of bowling to dismiss dangerous-looking Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander to complete his five-wicket haul.
The morning session on Day 4 could well be decisive given how the game has unfolded so far.
Brief Scores: India 502/7d (Mayank 215, Rohit 176; Keshav Maharaj 3/189) vs South Africa 385/8 (Elgar 160, de Kock 111; Ashwin 5/128).