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Wrap up: So that’s the end of what has been a fantastic Test series between two fantastic sides. There has hardly been a dull moment over three Test matches. Disappointments for India but ultimately ends with one of the most memorable Test wins. South Africa though thoroughly deserved the 2-1 win at the end. Did it live up to the pre-series build up? Yes, yes it did.
Faf: India outplayed us in this Test. We were just sloppy. From a bowling point of view, we weren’t consistent. Our fielding wasn’t great. Batting was obviously difficult. We were just 10-15% off in this Test. I’m disappointed. It’s disappointing to stand here after a defeat but if you have told me before the series that we would have won 2-1, I would have bitten your hand of.
Vernon Philander (MoS): I think you need to turn up at crucial times but we couldn’t do it here. I think India played the better cricket and deserved the win.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (MoM): A difficult wicket for batsmen but I wanted to stay there. It was an amazing track to bowl on. We wanted to bowl in good areas. It wasn’t an easy track to play.
Virat Kohli: We required some character but I think we showed some great guts. Hats off to the team for understanding that we needed to play well here even after losing the series. In pressure situations, in Test cricket, things happen. Bowlers are the biggest positive to come out of the series. Lower order also showed character. 60 wickets is the biggest positive to come out of here. If the batsmen can figure how to counter the conditions and if we can take our catches, we will do well away too.
After 73.2 overs, SA 177 all out: India have won the match! Brilliant allround team effort. Shami ended up with five wickets in a brilliant burst. SA lost their last 9 wickets for 53 runs.
L Ngidi c Karthik b Mohammed Shami 4 (6b)
After 73 overs, SA 177/9: Elgar still there – now on 86 – and getting closer to his century – he slammed a six and a four in the last over. South Africa require another 64 runs with 1 wicket remaining.
After 69.5 overs, SA 161/9: WICKET! Superb yorker from Shami. Cleans up Morkel – who seemed to be waiting for a bouncer. Beautiful.
M Morkel b Mohammed Shami 0 (1b)
After 68.5 overs, SA 160/8: WICKET! Gone. Another wicket for Bhvui. Another tailender trying to play a shot. South Africa are collapsing - 1-124 to 8-160. Good bowling by India but poor cricket by SA... there is a match on the line here.
K Rabada c Pujara b Kumar 0 (3b)
After 68 overs, SA 157/7: WICKET! Phehlukwayo is walking back now. This is a procession now. Huge gap between bat and pad, inside edge onto the stumps. Poor cricket though. Elgar still in the middle but no one hanging in there with him.
AL Phehlukwayo b Mohammed Shami 0 (3b)
After 67.3 overs, SA 157/6: WICKET! Philander goes for the big pull and only succeeds in hitting the ball back onto the stumps. Too early to play the big shots on this wicket – you have to understand the pace, get used to it a little and then, maybe.. just maybe.. hit a shot or two. The SA batsmen are thinking they can end it in a rush. That is not going to happen.
VD Philander b Mohammed Shami 10 (18b, 1x4)
After 65 overs, SA 149/5: The Indians are pitching it up now and that is making the batsmen play. Once you commit to playing, then there is a chance of getting the wicket. Elgar is playing his own game and he is still there in the middle but someone needs to score the runs. You can’t just survive on this wicket. With that in mind, the wicket of Philander will be key – he has scored 84 runs in his series.
Anand Katakam quickly digs up some data to show how the last session of the day has also been the deadliest:
After 63.1 overs, SA 145/5: WICKET! That stayed low. De Kock has been trapped LBW off the first ball he faced. He looks so nervous in the middle these days but India have started attacking the stumps again and that is paying dividends. Runs are drying up at the moment but the last session is also the one where wickets have fallen in this Test.
Q de Kock lbw b Bumrah 0 (1b)
After 61 overs, SA 144/4: WICKET! Ishant strikes. It came back in and kept low. Faf du Plessis walks back. India can win this. India can win this. Kohli looks at everyone, seems to tell them that ‘we have got this.’ It also puts into perspective what Amla was doing.
F du Plessis b Sharma 2 (9b)
After 60.4 overs, SA 144/3: South Africa looking to get into their stride but India are bowling a little better now. They still need to push it up a little more. The last session on each of the days has produced a lot of wickets, India will hope the same happens today.
South Africa require another 97 runs with 7 wickets remaining.
After 58 overs, SA 141/3: Parthiv Patel is off the field with a possible broken finger. Dinesh Karthik will get some game time. Let’s hope he is ready for this.
After 57 overs, SA 136/3: And that is tea. 29 overs, 67 runs, 2 wickets in the session. India are right back in this. South Africa need 105 runs with 7 wickets in hand. Elgar is still there in the middle but India should believe they can win this now. It promises to an exciting end to one of the most fascinating Tests in recent times.
After 56 overs, SA 131/3: WICKET! AB gone. Big, big wicket this. The difference one wicket can make. That ball from Bumrah took off a bit, hit the shoulder of the bat and looped to gully. India are back in this.
AB de Villiers c Rahane b Bumrah 6 (13b, 1x4)
After 52.4 overs, SA 124/2: WICKET! Finally, India get a wicket. The Indian bowlers starting consciously attacking Amla’s stumps, invited him to flick and placed two fielders in catching position on the leg-side. IT worked. Finally, something worked. Amla couldn’t keep it down and Hardik Pandya took a good catch. But this was well done by Ishant, the bowler, and Virat the captain. They finally managed to out-think him.
AB de Villiers is in next but will the pitch start to show its true colours again now? Wickets have fallen in heaps during this series.
HM Amla c Pandya b Sharma 52 (140b, 5x4)
After 52 overs, SA 124/1: Amla gets his second fifty of the match. It has been a stunning game for him. He has adapted and worked to find a way around this pitch. In return, the Indians just haven’t been able to figure him out. He has looked at ease and on this wicket, that is something.
Meanwhile, Kushal Phatarpekar puts Elgar’s brilliant knock into perspective.
Dean Elgar was in the eye of a storm at the fag end of Day 3. He was smacked on his helmet by a brute of a delivery from Jasprit Bumrah. On Day 4, Bumrah once again troubling the batsman, the difference, though, was that the South African opener was up for the challenge.
Elgar’s resolute batting helped him complete a gritty half-century that formed a part of a crucial stand between him and Hasim Amla that took the game away from India.
On Friday, Elgar wasn’t as assured with the bat. He missed many, but was struggling to get bat to ball. The short ball exploded off the wicket as the batsman struggled to get behind the line of the ball. He was left icing his forehead as concerns arose over the pitch.
The incident and the numerous body blows in the lead up to that moment, led the day’s play to be called off as the match referee led discussions with the two captains over a potential suspension of the game due to the “dangerous” wicket.
On Saturday, ahead of play reports emerged that Elgar complained of pain as he headed a ball during a round of football with his teammates. Kohli even pointed it out on the field. “He’s alright boys,” the stump mic picked up the India skipper telling his teammates. “He was playing football,” he added.
The Indian contingent, through its media interactions after Day 3, had made clear that they felt the wicket was same for both sides and that it wasn’t “dangerous” as it was being claimed.
The debate raged on social media through Saturday. On the field, though, Elgar was ice cool.
Elgar took it all in his stride. Along with Amla, the batsman negated the swing on offer. The lack of purchase from the wicket for the bowlers played into the batsmen’s hand. His false-shot percentage was the highest today, but it was his mental strength and determination was what shone through.
There was no better stage to show guts and glory than on this wicket today. Elgar took the challenge head on, no pun intended.
After 51 overs, SA 119/1: South Africa have been very steady today. They haven’t tried to score too quickly as the odd delivery continues to move around. There is still movement but India have just not pitched it up. Elgar has played and missed a lot but the bowlers have just not managed to get the edge.
After 46 overs, SA 112/1: South Africa require another 133 runs with 9 wickets remaining. 54 off 154 balls. This has been a gutsy knock by Elgar. He has taken body blow, looked at sea but he has just stood there and done his job.
After 42 overs, SA 106/1: 101 runs from 240 balls – what a partnership. Elgar and Amla are taking this match away from India. India badly need a wicket here.
After 41 overs, SA 100/1: South Africa require another 141 runs with 9 wickets remaining. This is unreal. No one could have predicted this – the pitch isn’t playing like a dream and it is still doing the odd thing but the SA batsmen are cruising.
After 38 overs, SA 95/1: Hardik Pandya into the attack. The last throw of the dice for India? Amla has 42*, Elgar 39* and India has no solutions to the problems these two batsmen are presenting at the moment. A little flat in the field now.
After 36 overs, SA 87/1: The partnership has been on for over 200 balls and on this wicket, that is priceless. India got too aggressive in the early going and SA were watchful then but now they are starting to get a move on. The sun is out and might dry the pitch a little more. But where will SA be by then?
South Africa require another 154 runs with 9 wickets remaining.
After 34 overs, SA 79/1: The ball suddenly seems to be doing something or Elgar has fallen back into his old habits. Either which way something is happening now.
After 31 overs, SA 77/1: A good crowd has turned up and they are making a lot of noise out there. The SA batsmen aren’t disappointing either. India still on the lookout for their first wicket of the day. The morning session was the first session in the entire match when a wicket did not fall. But really, what has happened to this wicket? How has it changed so drastically? Does anyone have any ideas?
After 29 overs, SA 74/1 - And we are back. The wicket is still behaving.
After 28 overs, SA 69/1 - LUNCH on day four: Fittingly, Elgar plays out a dot ball, hopping at the crease off Ishant Sharma and walks away towards the pavilion, even as Kohli follows him all the way till the dressing room. Lots of words from India, but not a wicket to show for their efforts this morning so far.
Back for the second session, shortly.
After 27 overs, SA 67/1: Another over, another special shot from Amla. The shuffle across the stumps works like a treat, as he flicks one nonchalantly to fine leg for four.
A great partnership in the making: After all the controversy last night, Amla and Elgar have added 60-plus already. Here’s Ashish Magotra’s take on a crucial stand.
The partnership that really set things up for India on Day 3 was the one between Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli. They nullified the hard new ball and that allowed the other batsmen to take full toll of the older ball.
Now, Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla are doing exactly the same thing for SA. They have put on 60-plus vital runs for SA and have looked solid while doing it. There were times yesterday when Elgar looked a little lost but on the Day 4 morning, he seems to have gathered his thoughts well and brought his ‘A’ game to the crease.
Kohli has been trying to sledge him but Elgar is showing great determination and remaining focussed on the job at hand.
Amla, meanwhile, has continued to play superbly. His knock in the first innings was pure class and this one has been no different. He is still shuffling across the crease but India have been unable to come up with a plan to counter that tactic.
The partnership will give great hope to all those in the SA dressing room and also start making Kohli a little nervous. India still has runs to play with but at what point does Kohli start sneaking regular looks at the scorecard?
The one thing to note though is that India’s bowlers have been a bit too short today. The new ball is the one that has misbehaved the most but as the ball gets older, it does get a little easier to bat on.
For now, though, it is game on.
After 25 overs, SA 61/1: Amla, you legend. Kohli has placed a leg gully, Ishant bangs it in short and what does Amla do? Rolls the wrists over a pull shot and places it to the fielder’s right and gets four. Bumrah to Elgar (ahem) from the other end and there is one absolute jaffa! Pitches outside leg stump and beats him outside off - partly with the angle, partly seam movement.
After 23 overs, SA 51/1: Fifty up for South Africa! And they have not lost a wicket this morning yet. Pretty much dream scenario for Faf and Co. Ishant continues to probe away at Elgar, predominantly bowling a good length. One full ball beats Elgar all ends up - that’s the length he needs to target more often.
Bhuvi to bowl his 7th bowler of the spell at the other end, perhaps the last Sunny G thinks. Elgar brings up the 50 partnership with an edge that carries well over the slip cordon . Indians get excited but this was not catchable by any means.
DRINKS - South Africa 48/1 after 20 overs: Terrific start to the day this for the Proteas but to India’s credit, they have bowled a tight line and length. That last over from Ishant was a very good one, in fact and Elgar does very well to not get tempted by the angle. Ishant brings one back but Elgar trusts the bounce and lets it go a few inches over stumps.
SA 47-1 after 19 overs: After all the reports of the morning that said the pitch could only get worse, things have fairly benign so far. ‘No suggestions today to suggest a repeat of what we saw over three days’ says Murali Karthik on air. Impressive batting so far by Elgar and Amla who are keeping the scoreboard ticking.
Ishant Sharma into the attack...
SA 42-1 after 17 overs: First 30 minutes of the day, SA have added 24 runs. Vital runs. Kohli from the covers telling his team that Elgar was heading the football in the morning. The pitch hasn’t misbehaved a lot in the morning and India need to get their focus back. The older ball wasn’t as much of a challenge, so India can’t afford to waste the new ball with the hard seam.
SA 41-1 after 15 overs: South Africa require another 200 runs with 9 wickets remaining and India have just bowled their first maiden over of the morning.
SA 40-1 after 13 overs: Elgar has a smile on his face and that is nice to see. But watching these batsmen struggle shows what all those who played on uncovered pitches went through. Imagine... they didn’t even have the same quality of protective equipment. SA, on the other hand, have been scoring quickly today. They are not going to just hang around. Game on!
SA 31-1 after 11 overs: Now, we have Bhuvi into the attack. Steady over from him. One seamed away from Elgar but otherwise mostly normal fare.
SA 30-1 after 10 overs: Shami from the other end. He, too, is a little short to begin with. Amla continuing to make that initial movement and smashed a wide delivery for four. Then, a full delivery hit the batsman on the pads. India’s appeal was turned down. Another short delivery was smashed to the boundary line. Three of the first four balls bowled were short. India need to focus on bowling a good line and length. They need to put the cracks out of their mind.
SA 22-1 after 9 overs: A short ball from Bumrah greeted Elgar back to the middle. They are going the short way at Elgar – first one flew over the keeper for four, the second hit Elgar on the gloves, third one played solidly by the left-hander.
Another update: Play to begin at 1500 hrs IST.
SuperSport TV just showed footage of Dean Elgar (who was struck on the helmet last evening) playing football this morning and heading the ball and then rubbing his head in pain.
Start delayed: Chetan Narula, our man in SA, has an update.
Inspection at 10.30am. Match start delayed. There was some pretty heavy overnight rain.
While we wait for that to happen, take our poll:
01:20 pm: Shaun Pollock for the pitch report.
There is massive cloud cover, so the ball will swing. At the start of play on day one, we had really really good grass covering, and some cracks. As the Test match has done on, the divots have gotten wider, and the grass cover has helped that happen. Everyone will be holding their breath, players, spectators, officials...— (via ESPNCricinfo)
01:15 pm: How good was Ajinkya Rahane on day three? And ironically, Virat Kohli had the best seat in the house. Ashish Magotra writes here...
01:05 pm: All the attention this morning has been on the IPL auction of course (all the updates of that here) but there is TEST CRICKET going on, and we are suckers for the longest format. Sure most of our readers as well are and thanks for joining us ahead of what promises to be another fascinating day.
01:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live blog of the fourth (and by all likelihood the final) day of action in the third and final Test between India and South Africa at the Wanderers. After all the pitch drama late last night, the officials made it clear that play will begin as scheduled today - weather permitting of course. So we do have a match on our hands.