IND vs RSA Test Match: Amla leads dour South African figthback

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December 6, 2015

Brief Scorecard: South Africa 121 and 72 for 2 (Amla 23*, de Villiers 11*) need another 409 runs to beat India 334 and 267 for 5 dec (Rahane 100*, Kohli 88, Morkel 3-51)

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers walk back unbeaten on day four, India v South Africa, 4th Test, Delhi, 4th day, December 6, 2015

 

December 6, 2015

Brief Scorecard: South Africa 121 and 72 for 2 (Amla 23*, de Villiers 11*) need another 409 runs to beat India 334 and 267 for 5 dec (Rahane 100*, Kohli 88, Morkel 3-51)

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers walk back unbeaten on day four, India v South Africa, 4th Test, Delhi, 4th day, December 6, 2015

 

DELHI – South Africa's batsmen were willing to dig in and played the patience game as they tried to salvage a draw in the fourth and final Test against India. Set a target of 481, they showed tremendous grit and determination, stonewalling for 72 overs for the loss of just two wickets. When stumps were drawn at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday (December 6), the fourth day, South Africa had limped to 72 for 2, with Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers standing firm.

The day began with India opting to bat on despite the presence of early morning dew. India's batsmen made their intent clear and scored 77 runs in 19.1 overs before declaring on 267 for 5, Ajinkya Rahane stealing the show as he blazed away to his second century of the match.

Rahane had displayed an abundance of patience on the third day. But on Sunday, it was a different Rahane who came out to bat. The shot of the morning came when Rahane used the pace on a short Morkel delivery to arch back and send it over slips for a six.

With Rahane the aggressor, Kohli was content to just knock the ball around as he approached the three-figure mark. But Abbott, and the variable bounce on the pitch, combined to spoil Kohli's party. Abbott bowled a straighter one that pitched on the good length area and rapped Kohli on the pads after keeping low. Kohli was given a brief moment of hope as the umpires went upstairs to check for the no-ball, but Kohli had to walk back eventually, six runs short of the 3000-run mark in Test cricket.

After Kohli's dismissal, Wriddhiman Saha hogged most of the strike and Rahane was kept quiet. But Saha joined in the fun after taking his time to settle in as India regained momentum.

Rahane raised his century with a tuck in front of square for a single, and Kohli called the batsmen back in after allowing Rahane to soak in the well-deserved applause from the Kotla crowd.

Chasing a huge total, South Africa faltered in the first 20 minutes itself. Dean Elgar's miserable tour ended as he perished on the drive to R Ashwin. The ball spun away sharply and Rahane held on to the edge at first slip just before lunch.

South Africa moved along at snail's pace after the break, defending anything on the good length region, while not bothering at the slightest hint of width as the pitch slowed down considerably.

Amla, especially, was intent on dead-batting just about everything that was thrown at him. It took the South African captain 46 balls to get off the mark. Ravindra Jadeja nearly had him when he drew him forward to push at one. Amla's efforts yielded an outside edge, but the ball kept low and sneaked between first and second slips.

Ishant Sharma found Temba Bavuma's outside edge on a couple of occasions, but the ball went to the boundary both times as South Africa went through a session unscathed for the first time in the series.

Ashwin accounted for Bavuma soon after tea with a superbly flighted ball. Bavuma came forward and played for the turn. But with the ball not turning as much, it went past his outside edge and uprooted the offstump.

De Villiers's arrival brought with it more frustration for India. With India having tried out numerous options, Virat Kohli brought on Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan's over induced life into an extremely dull passage. First, Amla nearly edged one to Wriddhiman Saha. Off the next ball, Amla popped one to silly point, but the ball fell inches in front of a diving Cheteshwar Pujara.

Ashwin and Jadeja got the Indians excited every now and then, but South Africa had luck on their side. Edges didn't carry and the ball narrowly missed the stumps when they were beaten as Amla and de Villiers defied India's bowlers for 29.2 overs and kept their hopes of salvaging a draw alive. By close, Amla had batted out 207 deliveries for 23, de Villiers was equally becalmed on his way to 11 off 91 deliveries.


Courtesy: Wisden India