South Africa close on series win despite Pant brilliance

Pant scores an unbeaten 100 from India’s second-innings total of 198; South Africa need 111 more runs to win the third Test and the series; Hosts lose captain Dean Elgar to the final ball of day three

Last Updated: 13/01/22 5:23pm

Rishabh Pant smacked a brilliant unbeaten 100 from 139 balls for India against South Africa at Newlands
Rishabh Pant smacked a brilliant unbeaten 100 from 139 balls for India against South Africa at Newlands

Rishabh Pant scored a brilliant unbeaten ton for India on day three of the deciding Test against South Africa at Newlands, but the hosts made major strides towards winning the series after closing on 101-2 in pursuit of a 212 victory target.

South Africa still require another 111 for victory on a difficult batting wicket that saw India bowled out for 198 in their second innings, a score which owed any semblance of competitiveness to the impressive Pant.

The left-hander took the attack to the home bowlers, smashing four sixes in an innings of high quality, while captain Virat Kohli (29) was the only other player to score more than 10 as India lost wickets regularly having resumed on 57-2.

Pant showed superb skill to weather a storm from the home seamers and then show his full repertoire of shots in a customary counter-attack, while left-arm seamer Marco Jansen finished with 4-36, and Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi with three wickets each.

With the series on the line, home captain Dean Elgar (30) and Keegan Petersen (48 not out) put on 78 for the second wicket in a partnership that swung the match in the home side’s favour.

But Elgar was out to what proved to be the last ball of the day, strangled down the leg side as he edged seamer Jasprit Bumrah to wicketkeeper Pant.

“If you had come to us in the morning and asked if we would take 101 for two (chasing 212), we would have taken that and run,” South Africa seamer Ngidi said.

“We are in a pretty good position. Another strong partnership and we are well in this game.”

A fourth innings target of over 200 has been successfully chased only three times in 133 years at Newlands, but one of those occasions was when South Africa chased 211 for the loss of five wickets against India in 2007.

India are chasing a first-ever series win in South Africa and are level at 1-1 after winning the first test in Pretoria before the hosts bounced back to claim the second.

Watch day four of the series-deciding third Test live on Sky Sports Cricket from 8am on Friday.

Source : Sky Sports