At one stage, the Proteas were in complete disarray at 162 for 8 before Maharaj (72) and Vernon Philander (44 not out) frustrated the Indians and helped the visitors put up a stubborn resistance. It needed Ravichandran Ashwin's mastery to end the stand and finish off South Africa's batting resistance.
Ashwin finished with 4 for 69, including the wicket of Quinton de Kock, who was completely bamboozled by one that beat his defence and dislodged the balls. Earlier, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami continued their great work to dislodge the middle-order with only Faf du Plessis providing resistance with 64.
Post the day's play, Ashwin said he was happy to be bowling and so wasn't frustrated even during the partnership between Philander and Maharaj. "I don't get frustrated and don't want to get frustrated either as I am happy to be bowling again. Whoever bats again, I am happy to keep bowling at them," the veteran off-spinner said.
Ashwin was all praise for the partnership between Maharaj and Philander, and even dismissed the theory of tailenders. "I think the myth of tail-enders is over-stated and when someone bats well, he bats well. Nowadays, nobody is really a mug with the bat. In our team also, everybody bats pretty well till No 11," Ashwin added.
"Like I said, it is a good pitch and Philander batted beautifully. His defensive technique to spin and fast bowling was wonderful. He played with soft hands and the bat face was slightly running down," he further said.
On the obvious question of follow-on, Ashwin said it was upto the captain to decide and that he hadn't given a thought to it.
"At least, I haven't thought about the follow-on. I think the captain will decide overnight on what he should be doing. It is also important, how bowlers recover tomorrow morning," he said.
--Renin Wilben Albert