The relentlessness of India’s current pace attack and the intensity with which they can keep operating have been a boon to the team, especially in overseas Tests, for over a year. For batting line-ups that are shaky and vulnerable, there’s just no respite.
England found that at home last year, while the inexperienced South African line-up too has been facing the heat at their backyard in the ongoing series. And the man to lead India’s bowling right from the front has been Jasprit Bumrah (5/42), who delivered once again to keep the visitors better placed in this third and final Test at Newlands in Cape Town.
Bumrah’s pinpoint accuracy, targeting the stumps right through and looking to make use of the seam to dart the ball back in, played a huge role in restricting South Africa to 210, giving India a first-innings lead of 13.
Late in the final session on Day II, Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen hit back to account for openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, respectively, as India were 57/2 at stumps having extended their lead to 70. But the South African bowlers couldn’t quite sustain the pressure thereafter on Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli, helping them settle down in that tough period.
For sure India, from hereon, would rely largely on the duo to set a daunting target for the Proteas on a track where batting won’t be getting any easier.
Going back to Bumrah, it was at the same picturesque Newlands where he began his Test journey back in January 2018. Already having established himself as India’s pace spearhead in these four years, Bumrah must be gearing up for one more push to help his team win their first-ever Test series in South Africa.
Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav gave Bumrah much-needed support, striking at crucial stages in Wednesday’s first two sessions.
Quick wickets
South Africa were making steady progress, thanks to the efforts of the impressive Keegan Petersen (72), Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma. At 159/4 and only 64 away from India’s first-innings total of 223, Petersen and Bavuma had put the pressure right back on India during their fifth-wicket partnership.
Kohli then brought Shami into the attack, and the senior pacer struck, removing Bavuma and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne in the same over, putting India back on top. First, Kohli snapped up a fine catch at second slip that sent Bavuma back and a tentative Verreynne then edged behind much to the delight of Shami and his teammates.
A bit of grit shown by the Proteas lower order somehow took them past 200, but then Bumrah ensured the lead was India’s.

By admin