Stumps on Day 3
India fought back in the 14 overs of play that were possible in the final session by taking two wickets before bad light had the last laugh on Day 3. South Africa finished the crucial third day at 111 for 3 in 27 overs with still 192 more runs to win. Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers have seen through the tense moments after the fall of Amla but will have a huge task tomorrow morning if South Africa have to go 2-0 up.
It was Harbhajan Singh striking for India after Tea with a sharp off break that turned and bounced a lot to force an inside edge off Alviro Petersen (26) to backward shortleg in the 16th over. In the very next over, the match tilted towards India when Hashim Amla (16) edged his cut shot off a wide outswinger from Sreesanth to the diving MS Dhoni to leave SA at 82 for 3.
Lunch on Day 3
VVS Laxman batted out the entire morning session and in the process stitched together two crucial partnerships to take India to a handsome lead of 292 runs. Laxman is the only batsman to get a half century in this Test Match so far and he is approaching a magical century. VVS has stroked his way to an unbeaten 86 from 140 balls with 11 fours and in the last few minutes has made the SA attack look pretty normal and the pitch look slightly on the flatter side. Laxman had first put up a useful 48-run stand with Skipper MS Dhoni for the 5th wicket and is currently in what could be a match-winning stand of 70 runs for the unbroken 8th wicket with Zaheer Khan (27* from 59 balls with 4 fours).
South Africa had got a wicket in just five minutes of play when Cheteshwar Pujara (10) chopped a steep rising delivery from Morkel onto his stumps. At 93 for 5, MS Dhoni walked into the middle to join Laxman and straightaway showed his intentions of playing his shots to keep the scoreboard moving. Dhoni scored a cameo of 21 from 35 balls (with 4 fours) before he edged a widish away going delivery from Tsotsobe to the keeper. There was a quick wicket for the Proteas after this when Harbhajan Singh edged a bouncing delivery from Morkel to second slip as India slipped to 148 for 7, a lead of 222 runs.
Zaheer Khan who replaced Harbhajan started off slogging desperately but making little connection. After a couple of shots, he started to apply himself and with Laxman saw through the entire session while the South African attack started to feel the pressure of conceding far too many runs!
- BV Swagath