India take 326-run lead despite Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander’s resistance

Cricket

South Africa 275 (Maharaj 72, du Plessis 64, Philander 44*, Ashwin 4-69), Yadav 3-37) trail India 601 for 5 dec (Kohli 254*, Agarwal 108, Jadeja 91, Rahane 59, Pujara 58, Rabada 3-93) by 326 runs

Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander, the lead spinner and senior seamer of the South African squad, were picked to do a job with the ball. But the pair frustrated India in the opposite discipline with a ninth-wicket partnership of 109 runs, South Africa’s third-highest in the series, and may have staved off an innings defeat.

Virat Kohli will able to sleep on whether he wants to put South Africa in again, 326 runs behind but he will have plenty to consider. His bowlers were in the field for 105.4 overs and South Africa’s lower-order showed they are capable of making India work for their wickets. Kohli may also be wary of batting last on a surface that is taking more turn, even if there is only an outside chance that India will need to chase a target. Either way, they sit in prime position to seal the series in the remaining two days and have asserted their dominance over a South African side whose quality remains in question.

More to follow

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