India vs South Africa, 1st Test Day 4: Rohit, Pujara make hay as India tightens noose

Rohit Sharma scores his second century in the Test as India gains a commanding lead before declaring. At stumps, South Africa is 11 for 1, needing another 384 runs to win.

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Rohit Sharma scored a century in both innings of the Visakhapatnam Test.   -  PTI Photo

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of day four of the first India vs South Africa Test in Visakhapatnam.

 

After the Day Three fightback, South Africa has been put under pressure once again today. Rohit Sharma scored his second century in the match, an assured, elegant knock, that served as the bedrock of the big total India scored before declaring.

Pujara gave him good company, and later, Jadeja, Kohli, and Rahane scored quickly.

The wicket of Dean Elgar has clearly given India the edge. South Africa has a tough task on Day Five of surviving the contest; it has 98 overs to negotiate.

Join us for Day Five, in the morning, tomorrow. Until then, it's goodbye.

It has got dark at the ACA-VDCA stadium, and the umpires consult each other and end the day's play. Artificial lights had taken over and perhaps the umpires thought it wasn't prudent to allow play to go on.

5.15 pm: Ashwin bowls another accurate, probing over, but de Bruyn gets safely behind the deliveries. No damage done.

5.13 pm: Jadeja uses the crease well to change his bowling angles. De Bruyn lofts one in the air to leg but it's a safe stroke as there are no fielders. Mohammed Shami, at mid-on, gives chase and keeps it to two.

5.10 pm: De Bruyn defends well. Ashwin's over is safely negotiated.

5.07 pm: Three close-in fielders on the off-side for Aiden Markram. But Markram plays Jadeja assuredly. A attempted cut shot was the only unsafe stroke played by him; it was a back-of-a-length delivery, and it skidded on. Markram, attempting the cut, couldn't get bat on it and it narrowly evades the edge.

5.05 pm: De Bruyn, the new batsman, gets off the mark by driving through extra-cover for a boundary. Ashwin is the bowler.

5.01 pm: A huge shout for leg-before-wicket and it's given not-out. However, Jadeja compels Kohli to go for the review, with two seconds left in the timer to refer the decision to the third umpire. And it turns out to be a good review as the it's out. Dean Elgar departs for 2.

Jadeja, coming around the wicket, gets a delivery to thud into the pads of Elgar. The ball pitches on leg-stump - it's just marginally inside the zone, and perhaps the umpire thought it had pitched outside. Elgar awkwardly tries to defend but the ball hits the pads. The impact is within the zone, and the ball was going on to hit the wickets, according to the ball-tracker.

The review proved profitable for India. South Africa 5 for 1.

4.53 pm: A leg-bye is taken off Jadeja in the second over. The batsmen push and nudge deliveries safely.

4.52 pm: An eventful first over bowled by R. Ashwin, although there's no damage to South Africa. Ashwin bowls around the wicket to Dean Elgar, and on the fourth delivery, nearly has him bowled. The ball kept low, almost staying at the level of the ground after bouncing, and perhaps shaves a bit of the off-stump. Ashwin has his hands on his head.

Two singles are taken from the over.

4.42 pm: India declares, at 323 for 4. It's a lead of 394.

Kohli and Rahane are able to collect only six runs off the 67th over, bowled by Rabada. Rabada bowls short deliveries and a yorker in this over. Rahane attempts a pull, but cannot get his bat to the ball. The final delivery of the over is a similar one, and Kohli pulls hard to get a boundary. He immediately takes off his helmet and runs to the dressing room. South Africa needs 395 to win.

4.32 pm: Rahane lofts Maharaj elegantly through extra-cover to get his first six. It's a negative line, the ball pitching way outside the leg-stump, but Rahane steps down the track and plays an inside-out stroke. This is time for agricultural hits but this stroke is from the top drawer.

India's lead is now 388. A declaration may be around the corner.

4.27 pm: Rahane collects his third boundary, but in an uncertain manner. He gets an outside edge off Rabada, and it evades the slip fielder to race to the rope. The ball had kept low and the ball hadn't been in the air as it travelled to the slip fielder. In the same over, he gets another outside edge; this time, the ball evades the wicketkeeper on its way to the boundary. The ball kept quite low and de Kock couldn't collect it.

4.26 pm: The staid Ajinkya Rahane comes out to bat. He gets off the mark by taking a couple of runs through the deep-extra cover. He displays deft touch for maximum impact; he plays the paddle-sweep, and then the reverse-sweep - using the back of his bat on the second occasion - to collect two fours. India is racing along.

Keshav Maharaj is the over. Fourteen runs are collected from it. The session run-rate is nearly eight per over.

4.19 pm: In a bit of an anti-climax, Jadeja is dismissed tamely, for a 32-ball 40. He tries to hoick Rabada to leg and doesn't get anywhere near the ball. The ball crashes into the stumps. It was a casual stroke; completely reckless. But of course, he had the license to throw caution to the wind. To be fair to him, the ball kept a little low. The declaration may not be too far away now.

4.12 pm: Jadeja joins the party. He smacks Piedt straight down the ground - off a full delivery - and gets a six; it's a flat hit that hits the white cloth on the advertising board beyond the rope. In the same over, he plays a slog-sweep to collect another six. The lead has crossed 350.

4.11 pm: Kohli is wasting no time to settle in. He hits a six and a four off Maharaj. The six was off an uncharacteristic slog-sweep.

3.58 pm: Jadeja is clearly looking to conjure some big hits, too, evidently. He gets down the track to Maharaj; Maharaj drops it short, and Jadeja adjusts at the last moment, awkwardly fending the short delivery away from his body to collect a single. He lets out a smile after he reaches the other end.

Virat Kohli, the new batsman, hits his first boundary off the fifth ball he faces - a fierce drive through extra cover.

3.54 pm: He can't repeat the stroke off Keshav Maharaj, though. The left-arm spinner tempts Rohit out of his crease, and Rohit attempts another mighty hit, but doesn't connect as the ball goes away from him. Quinton de Kock does the rest. It ends an excellent innings.

Rohit is out for 127.

3.48 pm: Rohit hits three sixes in a row. First, he drags a full delivery from outside the off-stump and hits down the ground; the ball sails over the head of the long-on fielder. Then, he plays the slog sweep that narrowly evades the reach of the fielder at deep midwicket. To finish off, he skips down the track to a length delivery from Piedt - reaching to the pitch of the delivery - and smacks the ball over long-off.

Rohit moves to 126.

 

3.42 pm: Four runs from the 55th over of the innings bowled by Keshav Maharaj — three singles taken by Rohit and a leg-bye off Jadeja. One of the singles was off an inside edge that evaded the keeper.

3.37 pm: Rohit gets to 104 by playing a paddle sweep off Piedt. Now that he's reached his century, will he push the accelerator button?

3.36 pm: Jadeja jams his bat on to a delivery by Philander, along with his leg. The ball strikes both the bat and the pad at nearly the same time. There is an appeal from the South Africans, and upon getting a not-out decision, they decide to review.

The third umpire, after taking his time to determine it was pad before bat, gets the ball-tracking technology played. The impact is 'umpire's call' and the ball is going to miss the off-stump anyway, according to the projection.

No damage done, but Philander is getting the ball to seam both ways and isn't totally innocuous.

3.33 pm: Rohit turns a delivery to leg and gets his second century in the contest. It's been a memorable Test for him. He has looked assured and elegant in this innings.

3.27 pm: Ravindra Jadeja is the new batsman. The intention to bring him in is perhaps to accelerate the scoring. On the third delivery he faces, he plays a slog-sweep and gets a six. He, then, plays a reverse-sweep but cannot make contact. Dane Piedt is the bowler.

3.16 pm: A drive from Rohit off a full delivery outside off from Philander, and two more runs are taken. Philander's nagging line gets the breakthrough, as Pujara tries to defend a back-of-a-length delivery on an off-stump line. He plays all around it, the ball hits his right thigh, and Philander is gleeful after witnessing that. He appeals and starts celebrating.

The umpire gives Pujara out. A review is taken, but to no avail. Pujara is out for 81. India 190 for 2.

3.14 pm: Two half-trackers from Dane Piedt, and he's duly punished for it. First, Rohit plays a fierce pull to collect a boundary through mid-wicket, and later in the over, Pujara pulls, too, to collect a six. India rollicking along.

3.12 pm: An accurate over from Philander. A drive through the off-side gets Rohit a single, before Pujara negotiates the rest of the over safely. Philander is getting the ball to move both ways off the seam.

2.47 pm: Dane Piedt bowls the final over of the session. He drifts down leg on his fifth delivery; the turning ball touches the gloves of the wicketkeeper but ends up travelling to the rope. Off the final ball, he gets Pujara to come down the track and smother the ball with his defensive posture. The ball strikes the pad first, and there is a polite appeal, almost as an afterthought.

Given not-out, South Africa opts for the review. The ball pitches outside off and goes on to hit the stumps - according to the projection - but the impact is 'umpire's call.' Pujara is saved by a whisker. It's tea. India is 175 for 1, leading by 246 runs.

2.40 pm: Philander into the attack. Rohit plays an elegant straight drive off the second delivery of the over. The ball is fielded by the mid-off fielder, but the stroke itself was a treat for the eyes. Rohit's single to leg off the next delivery brings up the 150 partnership. The wicketkeeper has come up to the stumps for Philander. Rohit defends for the rest of the over.

2.33 pm: A loose offering from Keshav Maharaj and Rohit pounces on it. It was short and wide, outside the off-stump, and Rohit duly cuts to get a boundary through point. Off the next delivery, he plays the late-cut to get another four. Then, Maharaj changes his line and bowls straighter; Rohit gently turns it to leg to collect two runs. Eleven runs from the over.

2.28 pm: Pujara collects another boundary, gently guiding a full delivery outside off from Rabada. The ball eases its way to the cover-point boundary. The timing was sweet, the movement minimal, and the result - as it was intended. He moves on to 74.

2.25 pm: Pujara gets a tickle on a ball drifting down the leg side, and collects a boundary through fine leg. Keshav Maharaj is the bowler. The ball gets past the short fine-leg fielder, who chases but cannot prevent the boundary. It brings up the 150 for India.

2.23 pm: Pujara gets hit on the right arm trying to defend a seemingly straightforward delivery from Rabada. He perhaps didn't anticipate the bounce, and considering the pace of the delivery, it would have hurt. Off the final ball of the same over, Rabada strays down leg side and the ball evades the diving wicketkeeper on its way to the boundary.

2:08pm: Rabada creates chances but not taken. Two thick outside edges off Pujara goes between the wicketkeeper and second slip. Faf, how about having that conventional first slip in place?  Meanwhile, India's lead crosses 200.

2:00pm: Fifty up for Pujara off 106 balls, his 21st in Test cricket. He really had to world for it. At the other end, Rohit is batting on 60 and India's lead now nears 200.

Just the apt time to replug my colleague Ayan Acharya's interview with Pujara, where he had told him: "If I am putting my wicket at risk by playing extravagantly and the team is not going to benefit from it, then it is not worth it."
 

1:37pm: Pujara, on the other hand has raised the ante and got 38 runs off the last 27 balls he has faced. India 112/1 and lead by 183 runs.

1:28pm: Rohit had started walking when Muthusamy took a brilliant catch at long-on. But his left toe had touched the cushion. Lucky reprieve for Rohit on 50.  

1:13pm: Fifty up for Rohit and so also the fifty-run stand with Pujara. After playing out 61 balls for his 8 runs, the Saurashtra batsman gets going with four boundaries. The scoring rate was expected to go up as India's lead goes past 150.

Drinks taken. Che Pujara has gone into a shell and played 61 balls for his 8 runs. Rohit, on the other hand has been fluent for his 64-ball 47. India now leads by 134 runs.

 

12:47pm: Dane Piedt gets the outside edge but de Kock fails to grab it, kept low too. Reprieve for Pujara on 8.

12:39pm: Virat Kohli on he eve of the first Test had said, if Rohit gets going he can demolish opposition bowling attack and you can't agree more. In the second innings, he has got his eye in and at ease shifting gears. Batting along with Rohit also gives Pujara time to graft at the crease. India 52/1 and lead by 123 runs (Rohit 40*, Pujara 4*).

12:16pm: The second session gets underway after the lunch break. It would be interesting to see how the Indian batters approach this session. Rohit Sharma would be the batsman if India looks to get quick runs. India 37/1 and lead by 108 runs.

11:30am: Lunch taken on day four, with India 35/1 and a lead of 106 runs. Pujara unbeaten on 2 and Rohit on 25. Mayank (7) couldn't replicate his first innings form and fell to Maharaj early in the innings.

Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya has undergone a successful surgery in London.

 

11:11am: OUT. Keshav Maharaj strikes with the wicket of Mayank Agarwal (7), caught in at first slip by Faf du Plessis. Mayank plays on the front foot, ball spins, takes the edge after hitting high on the bat. Che Pujara is the new man in at the crease.

10:52am: This has been a sedate start by both the Indian openers, with Philander and Maharaj operating. The idea would be to go into lunch (30mins away) without no loss.

10:36am: Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma start India's second innings, with a lead of 71 runs. Vernon Philander starts the proceedings.

10:27am: Ashwin gets the final wicket and finishes with figures of 7 for 145. South Africa all out for 431 as India retains a lead of 71 runs.  The runs given away too many before Ashwin picked the last two wickets.

10:18am: Muthusamy and Rabada have already stitched a 30-run stand. Things not going well for India as expected and to top it, the bowlers not bowling the right lengths. South Africa trails by 75 runs.

10:09: The tailenders at times can be really frustrating and Muthusamy is proving to be one of them. He looks solid out there and getting the odd boundaries too. South Africa has reduced the deficit to 84 runs.

9:55am: OUT. Keshav Maharaj holes out at long-on going for the big shot off Ashwin. That will be the sixth wicket for the off-spinner. SA 396/9 and trail by 106 runs.

 

Ravichandran Ashwin comes on to bowl from the other end.

9:34am: Brilliant first over from Shami, bowls a maiden. He almost had a wicket from two absolute peach of deliveries.

9:29am: All set for the start of day four's play. Mohammed Shami to start the proceedings as India looks to wrap up the tail quickly.

 

9:09am: We are barely 25 minutes away from the start to the fourth day's play, where South Africa will resume from its overnight score of 385 for 8, in reply to India's first innings score of 502 for 7. The visitors gave a great fight back with Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock slamming centuries. R. Ashwin starred for India with his five-wicket haul but not before South Africa having had dominated most part of the day's play. It still trails India by 117 runs with Senuran Muthusamy (12*) and Keshav Maharaj (3*) at the crease.

Before the live action starts in Vizag, click here to listen to our new podcast episode on Couch talk — and find out for yourself who is the cricketer guest.

Click here to read our reporter Ayan Acharya's day 3 report from Vizag.

Day 3 review: South Africa fought back on day three to put itself with a chance to stay in the game in the of India's spin onslaught. Dean Elgar slammed 166 and he was supported by skipper Faf du Plessis (55) and Quinton de Kock (111) as the Proteas moved 117 runs behind India's mammoth first innings total. Ravichandran Ashwin toiled hard and earned his 27th five-wicket haul of his career while Ravindra Jadeja raced to his 200th Test wicket.