Johannesburg – The drama continues in the third Test with India looking better and better for a victory in Johannesburg.
At tea on day three, the visitors had battled their way to 199/6 – a lead of 192.
Indian physiotherapist Patrick Farhart was having one of his busier days, and as was the case in the opening session, he was back on the field between lunch and tea attending to the wounded Indian batsmen.
This Wanderers strip continues to be heavily criticised with West Indian great Michael Holding leading the chorus of disapproval.
Umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould again flirted with the possibility of stopping play, it seemed, after Ajinkya Rahane (46*) was hit by Kagiso Rabada.
The problem with this pitch is its unpredictable bounce and wild movement. Throughout the day’s play balls having been getting up high off a length while jagging off the turf, and that has made for some nasty body, arm and hand shots.
India will know, though, that they just need to battle on a while longer. When South Africa do come into bat, they will be faced with a chase that looks a steep one in this match situation.
Virat Kohli (41) and Rahane resumed with the score on 100/4 after lunch and put on a partnership of 34 before a spectacular delivery from Rabada (3/59) saw the Indian skipper castled.
It was an unplayable delivery that ducked inwards, and not even Kohli could get near it.
Rabada struck soon after when he had Hardik Pandya (4) caught and bowled. At that stage, India were 148/6 and the Proteas would have felt right back in it.
Poor fielding then let the hosts down as first Rahane and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar (??) were dropped within the space of five balls.
To make matters worse, both chances were sitters.
Kumar edged Morne Morkel to Dean Elgar in the gully, but the Proteas opener never looked comfortable as he spilled the chance.
Then, in the very next over, Rahane slapped Rabada to deep point where Andile Phehlukwayo was well positioned.
The Dolphins youngster made the ground, but his hands let him down as he grassed another opportunity to get the Proteas moving in the right direction.
With the wicket commanding so much attention, the cricket feels like a sideshow at times.
But that won’t matter to India if they come away with a rare win in South Africa and restore some pride to their series.