Mishra dismisses Amla, Du Plessis as India inch closer to win
Nagpur : Leg-spinner Amit Mishra struck twin blows to remove the dogged duo of Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis as India moved a step closer towards series victory restricting South Africa to 151 for six at tea on the third day of the third cricket Test, here today.
At the tea break, JP Duminy (15 batting) and wicketkeeper Dane Vilas (2 batting) were at the crease, still needing 159 runs for a series-levelling win.
Mishra struck twin blows in a space of six deliveries in successive overs in the post lunch session to put a spanner on the slim South African hopes after Amla (39) and Du Plessis (39) stonewalled the Indian bowling with a fifth wicket stand of 72 runs.
The pair, who came together in the first hour before lunch, held on till the second hour after the break by defending stoutly against the spinning ball before Mishra broke the stand by dismissing Amla with a classical leg-break to have the rival skipper caught by a leaping home team captain Virat Kohli at short gully.
Amla, who had scored 253 at this ground in a winning cause five years ago, had kept the Indians at bay for 219 minutes and hit just 2 fours in his 167-ball knock.
Du Plessis, who showed admirable patience till his skipper’s departure, lost it five balls later when he played an ill-advised pull shot to a ball that kept low from Mishra and hit the middle stump.
These two dismissals have reduced whatever little hopes the visitors had of reaching the far-away target and keep the series alive even on a pitch that still aided spin but seemed to have lost some venom of the first two days.
The home team’s bowlers were kept at bay by the stone-walling tactics of Amla and Du Plessis resulting in the post-lunch hour of play producing a measly 21 runs in 19
The duo, in the process, came up with the longest partnership of the series overtaking the one between Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara in the series opener at Mohali.
Du Plessis, having been let off once in the first session, survived a close call early on in the second session. He was struck on the pad by Ashwin in the first over after resumption and the strong appeal by the Indians was turned down.