Du Plessis keeps South Africa ahead

As in the first session, India enjoyed some success in the latter stages of the second session of the second Test and this time Ishant Sharma gave those breakthroughs during a period in which more yawns were seen than the number of runs South Africa accrued.

Resuming from their lunch score of 173/5, the hosts' innings progressed at a snails pace. While India, understandably, set defensive field and bowled defensive lines, South Africa did little to take the game forward. They were happy playing the dot balls. This was a game of playing on each other's patience and waiting for the other to crack first.

India won this battle when Vernon Philander pulled Ishant down M Vijay's throat at mid-wicket, the ball just stop stopping a bit and coming. This ended a laborious 39-run stand coming off 156 balls. Keshav Maharaj couldn't ride on top of the bounce off Ishan't back of a length delivery and managed an edge to Parthiv Patel. Skipper Faf du Plessis, however, stayed firm to keep alive home hopes of a substantial second innings total.

At the end of an extended tea session here at the SuperSport Park on Tuesday, South Africa had extended their overall lead to 258 after finishing at 230 for seven in 82 overs.

Earlier, Mohammad Shami's burst late in the first innings had prevented South Africa from running away with the game. The right-arm quick claimed three wickets in a spell of 7-2-26-3 to bring the tourists back into the game.

It needed perhaps the best delivery of the match yet to dislodge AB de Villiers (80, 121b, 10x4) who was threatening to take the game away from India. If India were relieved to have seen the back of de Villiers, their joy doubled soon when another set batsman Dean Elgar (61, 121b, 8x4) picked up KL Rahul at deep backward square-leg. India could have had du Plessis on his individual score of six in the next over itself when his glance off R Ashwin was grassed by Rahul at lone slip despite fully reaching the ball.

The disappointment was off-set to an extent when Quinton de Kock was dismissed in the next over. The southpaw edged Shami four times in as many balls and while the first three went for four, his luck ran out the fourth time when the nick went straight to Parthiv. The catch was so straightforward even Parthiv couldn't have dropped it.

For the first hour or so, it was de Villiers all the way with Elgar not too far behind. The right-left combination scored at a brisk rate almost five runs an over in the morning even as India toiled hard to separate the stand. It needed a peach of a delivery from Shami, the ball pitching on the off, kicking up and shaping away just enough before de Villiers could sway away from the line. Parthiv completed a simple catch as India fought back into the game.

Brief scores: South Africa: 335 all out and (O/n: 90/2): 230/7 in 82 overs (AB de Villiers 80, Dean Elgar 60, Faf du Plessis 37 n.o.; Mohammad Shami 3-38) vs India: 307 all out (Virat Kohli 153; Morne Morkel 4-60).

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