India throws pressure back on South Africa in 1st test

CENTURION, South Africa (AP) — India plunged from 272-3 to 327 all out, only to throw the pressure back on South Africa during a wicket-filled third day of the first test on Tuesday.

India’s gloom at losing seven wickets for 55 in the opening session was replaced with glee by tea as South Africa slumped to 109-5 in its first-innings reply.

India even handled the temporary loss of spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who removed South Africa captain Dean Elgar in the first over before limping off and missing much of the second session with a twisted ankle.

Mohammed Shami stepped up in Bumrah’s absence to bowl Keegan Petersen (15) and Aiden Markram (13), while Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur chipped in with a wicket each.

Thakur’s strike was crucial, forcing Quinton de Kock to edge a delivery onto his stumps for 34 and end his 72-run partnership with Temba Bavuma.

De Kock and Bavuma’s resistance had dug their team out of a hole at 32-4 and although Bavuma was still there on 31 not out, South Africa was well behind.

After the entire second day was washed out by rain, India resumed on 272-3 with opener KL Rahul 122 not out.

Pace bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada then starred in a whirlwind of morning wickets at SuperSport Park, sharing six of the seven to fall.

Ngidi finished with 6-71, his second-best career figures behind the 6-39 he took against India at Centurion in 2018. Rabada returned 3-72 and Marco Jansen wrapped up the innings with a first wicket on his debut.

India received an early blow in the fourth over when Rahul tried to hook Rabada and was caught down the legside for 123.

Ajinkya Rahane (48), Ravichandran Ashwin, (4), Rishabh Pant (8), Shardul Thakur (4) and Shami (8) all fell as India faded after a promising start to its latest quest for a first test series win in South Africa.

South Africa’s batsmen also struggled against pace, starting with Elgar edging to wicketkeeper Pant.

Shami muscled deliveries through the defenses of Petersen and Markram before Rassie van der Dussen edged to Rahane in the gully off Siraj.

De Kock was then dropped by Rahul off the next ball — a tough, low chance in the slips.

Bumrah’s ankle twisted badly under him during his follow-through in his sixth over and he left the field for treatment. He was back before the end of the session, though.

South Africa’s batsman Temba Bavuma, left, watches his shot as India’s bowler Mohammed Siraj attempts fielding his own delivery, during the third day of the Test Cricket match between South Africa and India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

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