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Live 1st test Day3 : Vijay, Pujara consolidate as India’s lead stretched to 145

Graeme Smith

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted with lot of grit as India reached 109 for two in 40 overs at tea, thereby extending the overall lead to 145 on the third day of the first cricket Test against South Africa here today.
AP12_19_2013_000210AJohannesburg: Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted with lot of grit as India reached 109 for two in 40 overs at tea, thereby extending the overall lead to 145 on the third day of the first cricket Test against South Africa here today.

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 Vijay (39) and Pujara (39 batting) added crucial 70 runs for the second wicket as the Indian batsmen took full advantage of speedster Morne Morkel being ruled out of action due to a twisted ankle during fieldinghaving bowled only two overs.

Tamil Nadu opener Vijay looked assured during his 94-ball knock as he hit five boundaries and it was unfortunate that he got out after getting set as he flicked a delivery from Jacques Kallis (1/23) down leg-side into the hands of AB de Villiers behind the stumps.

Pujara on his part was watchful as ever during his unbeaten 107-ball stay at the wicket so far in which he hit four boundaries and also rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Pujara-Vijay brought up the India’s 50 in the second innings in the 23rd over. With drinks break coming up, Tahir came up to bowl and was taken for nine runs immediately.

Tahir didn’t get to bowl another over in the whole session, but in the one he bowled, India’s lead went past the 100-run mark.

Even after Vijay’s departure, Pujara carried on the good work in company of first innings centurion Virat Kohli (6 batting).

Dale Steyn (0/29 in 14 overs) upped the ante against Kohli with innovative field settings that included couple of short covers and short mid-wickets but it didn’t cause any damage to the visitors. Even De Villiers handed his keeping gloves to Hashim Amla and rolled his arm over at the stroke of tea.

In the first session, Shikhar Dhawan (15) was the only man dismissed as he became Vernon Philander’s 100th Test wicket edging one to Jacques Kallis in the slip cordon.

Philander went one better of countryman Dale Steyn, who reached his milestone in 20 Tests.

Earlier, Zaheer Khan (4/88) and Ishant Sharma (4/79) made short work of the South African tail in the morning session. Zaheer now has 299 wickets and will only be fourth Indian bowler after Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to complete 300 wickets in Tests.

They picked up the last four wickets for just 31 runs, as the Proteas crashed from their overnight score of 213/6 to be bowled out for 244 runs in less than an hour of the opening session on day three.

Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis started over their 67-run partnership, looking to extend India’s time on the field.

Philander started the day with a boundary off the first ball, driving him through the covers and bringing up his 50.

But he couldn’t go on for long, edging Zaheer to first slip to Ashwin. Philander was out for 59 runs, facing 86 balls, hitting seven fours.

At the other end, Ishant accounted for Dale Steyn, with Rohit Sharma too held an easy catch at third slip.

Du Plessis scored 20 runs off 77 balls before Zaheer removed him with one that held its line and then finished the innings off by cleaning up Morne Morkel.

PTI

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