New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Indian bowlers struck crucial blows as a gritty South Africa posted 136/5 at tea on the final day of the fourth cricket Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Monday.
AB de Villiers and Dane Vilas were in the middle for South Africa at tea. De Villiers was batting on 43 while Vilas was on 13.
De Villiers consumed 296 deliveries during his marathon innings. Usually known for his ability to repeatedly hit bowlers out of the park in limited overs cricket, the 31-year-old showed he is one of the best when it comes to defensive batting as well.
Although Hashim Amla, Faf du Plesis and J.P. Duminy fell at the other end, the experienced right-hander continued to hold up the Indian bowlers at the other end.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja snapped up two wickets on Monday for figures of 2/26. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Duminy after lunch to return with 3/58.
Jadeja bowled 17 consecutive maiden overs in the second innings. He fell four maiden overs short of the all-time record of former India spinner Bapu Nadkarni when du Plesis hit him to the long-on boundary.
Resuming at the overnight score of 72/2, South Africa batsmen de Villiers and Amla continued their efforts to deny a victory to the hosts.
Du Plesis took 53 deliveries to open his account. He is now third on the list of batsmen consuming the most number of balls before opening their account.
England’s John Murray (80 deliveries) holds the record in this dubious category which came against Australia in the Ashes series of 1962.
England’s Stuart Broad is second on the list with 62 balls which came against New Zealand in 2013. Grant Flower of Zimbabwe is fourth with 51 balls. He achieved the feat in the year 2000 against New Zealand.
Jadeja knocked back Amla’s off-stump in the morning session before du Plesis joined de Villiers in the middle and the duo ensured that the visitors did not lose any more wickets till lunch.
Amla scored 25 runs off 244 deliveries. The elegant right-hander has not been at his best in this series. But he played a captain’s innings when his team needed it the most and it needed a superb delivery from Jadeja to dislodge him.
The Kotla pitch has become slow and has lost most of its bounce which is affording the visitors more time to read the deliveries and play their shots.
India skipper Virat Kohli has used eight bowlers including himself in an attempt to dislodge the Proteas batsmen.
Jadeja struck another big blow to South African hopes when he trapped du Plessis leg before almost immediately after lunch with one that kept straight after pitching.
Ashwin sent Duminy back to the pavilion before the South African had opened his account to revive India’s hopes just before tea.