South Africa remain on the ropes in Pune after being bowled out for 275 in their reply to a mammoth 601 set by India in their first innings of the second Test between the two nations.
The Proteas trail the three-match series 1-0 after being put to the sword in the first match in Visakhapatnam, losing by 203 runs.
They look set for a series defeat if the evidence from day 3 is anything to go by, after reaching stumps trailing by 326 runs, with the possibility of getting started on their second innings in the fourth morning should the hosts enforce a follow-on.
South Africa remain on the ropes in Pune
South Africa resumed the day under enormous pressure on 36-3, with nightwatchman, Anrich Nortje strolling to the crease alongside Theunis de Bruyn, after both openers – Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram – had lost their wickets, along with Temba Bavuma.
Both batsmen did not last too long, with the debutant falling to Mohammed Shami early on in the third morning after adding just one to his overnight total of two.
De Bruyn, who had looked relatively assured on his way to a fluent 30 littered with boundaries, did not stick around much too – edging behind to Wriddiman Saha of the bowling of Umesh Yadav.
This brought first-Test centurion, Quinton de Kock together with captain Faf du Plessis, and the pair set about rebuilding with five wickets down for just 53 on the board.
De Kock stuck around long enough to see his skipper cross the half-century mark, riding his fortune on his way to 31, with seven boundaries.
However, the wicketkeeper-batsman was undone by a pearler from Ravichandran Ashwin, knocking the top of his off stump.
Du Plessis and all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy took the Proteas to lunch, with the team still with a mountain to climb.
The second session began with more joy for India as – for the first time – they got rid of Muthusamy, who was trapped in front by Ravindra Jadeja for seven. The 25-year-old managed to avoid dismissal on debut in Visakhapatnam, plugging 88 runs across both innings.
Fight-back not enough toto keep India out
His effort in Pune lasted just 20 deliveries, as Umpire Nigel Long gave him the finger, and was vindicated when the batsman sent it upstairs for a review.
At 139-7, South Africa were staring down the barrel with Vernon Philander – coming off a pair from the first Test – came on to join his skipper.
India’s breakthrough would, however, come from the other end with du Plessis becoming the eighth wicket to fall for 67, after he edged Ashwin to first slip, where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake to push the Proteas to the ropes.
The latter half of the middle session, as well as a huge chunk of the last, belonged to South Africa. This was after Philander got together with Keshav Maharaj for the ninth wicket.
The two bowlers put together the innings’ first 100-run partnership, with the left-arm spinner the main aggressor as he reached his maiden Test 50 in the process.
With South Africa looking to gain some sort of ascendancy, Maharaj played down leg into the willing hands of Rohit Sharma at leg slip to hand Ashwin his third of the day, departing for a well-played 72 with his team at 271-9.
Only four runs were added before Kagiso Rabada became the last wicket to fall, trapped lbw by Ashwin for two.
The last wicket saw the two sets of players making their way to the field, with India well on the driving seat after both have had a chance to bat.
Play resumes at 6:00 (SAST) on Sunday.
The South African
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