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Philander batting
World Test Championship

Ashwin's four-for gives India 326-run lead despite lower-order resistance

Ind v SA, 2nd Test, day two, report

Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj batted together for a staggering 43.1 overs and added 109 runs for the ninth wicket, before South Africa were eventually bundled out for 275 in their first innings at the end of third day's play in Pune.

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When Ravichandran Ashwin breached Faf du Plessis's defense to have him caught in the slips for 64, South Africa stood at 162/8, still trailing India's first innings score by another 439 runs and were facing the prospect of following on. However, Maharaj and Philander showed great resistance, with the former registering his maiden Test fifty and top scoring with 72 for the visitors in their first innings. The right-hander showed great skills and grit against India's spin twins Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and seized on every scoring opportunity, hitting 12 boundaries during his 132-ball stay. 

Philander on the other hand batted for three hours and 44 minutes, facing 192 balls – his best on both counts in Test cricket. Ashwin eventually had Maharaj caught by Rohit Sharma at leg slip and, a few overs later, trapped Kagiso Rabada leg-before to finish with returns of 4/69. Philander remained unbeaten on 44, as South Africa finished at 275 – 326 short of India's first innings total of 601/5 declared.

Earlier Mohammad Shami gave India a solid start to the day, having night-watchman Anrich Nortje caught by fourth slip off a well-directed bouncer for 3. Three overs later, Wriddhiman Saha flew to his right to snaffle a brilliant catch off Umesh Yadav's bowling to send back Theunis de Bruyn for 30.

With the visitors reeling at 53/5, Quinton de Kock, centurion from the previous game in Visakhapatnam, then joined with skipper Du Plessis for a 75-run partnership to resurrect the innings to some extent. The left-hander looked in fine form hitting seven boundaries, before Ashwin removed him with an absolute peach that kissed the top of off stump. Du Plessis carried on, mixing caution with aggression and registered his 21st Test fifty, before edging one to Rahane in the lone slip.

South Africa finished well behind India's first innings total, but with Maharaj and Philander having forced the hosts to field for more than 100 overs, Virat Kohli might well look to bat again and force the visitors to bat last on a slowing wicket.

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