Maharaj‚ Philander fight hard but SA still in the dwang in India

Keshav Maharaj scored his first half-century in his Test career.
Keshav Maharaj scored his first half-century in his Test career.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj overcame physical challenges and defied India with a record stand on the third day of the second Test in Pune on Saturday.

Despite that‚ South Africa were dismissed for 275 — 326 runs behind India’s first innings declaration of 601/5 — with what became the last ball of the day.

The visitors will find out on Sunday morning whether the follow-on will be enforced‚ but India may want to avoid batting last on a pitch that is showing signs of wear.

Philander and Maharaj came together an hour after lunch when the visitors slumped to 162/8.

They held up the home side’s progress for 259 balls in their partnership of 109‚ a record for South Africa’s ninth wicket against India.

The previous best effort‚ 91 by Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt‚ was set in Visakhapatnam in the first Test.

Twenty-four balls before the close Maharaj tried to whip a delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin through the leg side and was caught at leg gully for 72 off 132 balls — his first Test half-century and the most deliveries he has faced in an innings.

Philander’s undefeated 44 was the product of 192 balls‚ his longest stay at the crease.

Maharaj batted with a strapped shoulder and winced occasionally after playing a stroke with the effects of an injury he suffered while diving in the field on Friday‚ and which saw him taken to hospital for scans.

Philander took breaks from his innings to have his left elbow and forearm iced.

South Africa resumed on 39/3‚ and lost their next five wickets for 121 across 41.1 overs.

Fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav removed nightwatch Anrich Nortjé and Theunis de Bruyn before spinners Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja dealt with Quinton de Kock‚ Muthusamy and Faf du Plessis.

Du Plessis‚ who hit nine fours and a six in his 64‚ and De Kock‚ who made 31‚ offered the sturdiest resistance in the top seven with a stand of 75 off 102 balls.

Yadav took 3/37 with Ashwin claiming 4/69.


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