Elgar’s defiance keeps second Test match evenly poised at the Wanderers

05 January 2022 - 18:35
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
SA's Dean Elgar in action during day three of the second Test against India at the Wanderers.
Image: ROGAN WARD DEFIANT SA's Dean Elgar in action during day three of the second Test against India at the Wanderers.

It is anyone’s game in the enthralling second Test between SA and India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

The match goes to the fourth day on Thursday morning with the Proteas needing 122 more runs to tie the series at 1-1 with a match at Newlands to go next week.

India need the eight South African wickets to maintain their unbeaten record at this venue after six matches (three wins and three draws) and to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Earlier in the day, India ended their second innings on 266 and a lead of 239 runs and when stumps arrived SA had scored an impressive and defiant 118/2 after 40 overs.

Proteas resume with Elgar, who needed attention after he was hit by a nasty bouncer on the helmet from Jasprit Bumrah in the late stages, on 46 and Rassie van der Dussen on 11.

The pitch is offering a lot for the bowlers and Elgar and Van der Dussen will be pressed against fired up India quicks Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

SA still have the middle order of Temba Bavuma, Jyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, and the lower order of Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi in the bank.

It turned out to be an eventful day at the Bullring with 10 wickets falling while elsewhere Van der Dussen was involved in a sledging incident with Rishabh Pant that was picked up by the stump microphone.

There was also a tense moment when Proteas’ Marco Jansen and Bumrah had to be separated by umpire Marais Erasmus mid-pitch as the Indian fast bowler reacted to nasty balls that landed on his body.

The first wicket to fall in SA’s chase was Aiden Markram for 31 after he was trapped in front by Shardul Thakur as his struggles for runs continued at the top of the order.

Overs later, the first wicket to spin finally tumbled in the match as Ashwin bowled Keegan Petersen (28) to become the first Indian spinner to pick up a wicket at the Wanderers since the legendary Anil Kumble.

The wicket of impressive Petersen ended his promising partnership of 46 off 104 with skipper Dean Elgar as they weathered the storm of dual Indian pace and spin bowling.

Elgar, who was defiant on the crease, was also part of another useful and quick-fire partnership with his opening partner Markram that produced 47 off 60 balls.

Earlier in the day, India ended the first session on 188/6 with Hanuma Vihari (6) and Shardul Thakur (4) after they resumed with the overnight score of 85/2.

Kagiso Rabada got the breakthrough of the first session with the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane (58) and Cheteshwar Pujara (53) who put together a solid partnership of 111 off 144.

He followed with the removal of Pant without scoring and Lungi Ngidi registered his first of the innings with the scalp of Ravichandran Ashwin (6) as India went to lunch on 184/6.

In the second session, it was the show of Jansen who accounted for the quick wickets of Thakur (28) and Shami (0) and Ngidi who wrapped the tail by removing Bumrah (7) and Siraj (0).