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SA vs Ind, 3rd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: Pant scores 100* but SA steady at 101-2, chasing 212

Elgar-Peterson added 78 runs for the second wicket on Day 3 for South Africa

SA vs Ind, 3rd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: Risabh Pant scores 100* but South Africa steady at 101-2, chasing 212
Rishabh Pant scores a crucial century for India in 2nd Innings at Cape Town (©GettyImages)

Brief Scores: South Africa 101-2 (Petersen 48, Shami 1-22) & 210 (Petersen 72, Bavuma 28, Bumrah 5-42) require 111 runs to beat India 223 (Kohli 79, Pujara 43, Rabada 4-73, Jansen 3-55) & 198 (Pant 100*, Kohli 29, Jansen 4-36, Ngidi 3-21) at Stumps on Day 3

After a horrible day with bat in hand, India fought back in the game shouldering on an amazing spell of bowling from star-pacer Jasprit Bumrah. South African lower-order, although, did well not allowing too big a lead for the tourists. But with so many ebbs and flows from the beginning of the series, the first session of the third day’s play could easily turn one side in the winning position.

India had to bat well targeting a possible 280 runs for South Africa to chase who would surely go for the early blows. Therefore, it would be a game of patience and mental challenge.

The 22-yard turf at Newlands on Day 3

There were few spots on the surface for the seamers to get some purchase. It would be a bit more tricky on Day 3 for the batters than it was on the first two days. Again, bowlers would find themselves slightly ahead in this series. But as it was said earlier, getting on with the scoring rate would be most essential on these kind of strips.

Kohli-Pant lent stability to India’s innings after familiar woes of Pujara-Rahane; tourists went into lunch with a lead of 143 runs

On a bright sunny day, India had a nightmare beginning losing Cheteshwar Pujara on the second ball, thanks to an absolute blinder of a catch from Keegan Petersen at wide leg slip. Pujara, now owned most dismissals (7) on overnight scores while Marco Jansen had nominated himself as the highest wicket-taker (17) for South Africa in a debut series, since re-admission.

Being in poor form, the last thing Ajinkya Rahane could ask for would be the ball he was dismissed on; utterly a pearler from Kagiso Rabada to stun the visitors who were now in all sorts of trouble at 58-4.

But since then, two Delhi boys, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant, had steadied the Indian ship with an unbeaten 72-run partnership. The former had just copied his first innings patience and grit playing another 100 balls, first time since Trent Bridge in 2018, the Indian leader had faced 100+ balls in both innings of a Test. On the other end, Pant notched up his maiden fifty against South Africa on the back of a few calculative risks in quick time.

With that bounce and stiffness of the track, India should look for at-least 240-250 to throw at South Africa in the chase.

Read More: SA vs Ind, 3rd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: Bumrah's 5-42 gives 13-run lead to visitors; Ind 2-57

Record hundred from Rishabh Pant headlined the session; India set a meagre target of 212 for South Africa

It was a period of intense drama, action, moments, runs and wickets. Rishabh Pant went bang-bang to kick off from where he left before Virat Kohli got dismissed, chasing a wide delivery, somehow losing his immense restraint. Since then, the wickets kept on falling at regular intervals but one man from one end stood firmly taking all the weight of responsibility in setting the target.

The wicketkeeper batter played some incredible shots all around the park quite handsomely; with the tail not showing enough resistance, he had to take the brutal way and with a single behind the wicket, he notched up another century which helped them to set 212 as a target for South Africa.