Classy Petersen keeps Proteas afloat as Newlands Test hangs in the balance

Keegan Petersen (Gallo)

India picked up another four Proteas wickets in the middle session, leaving the series-deciding third Test at Newlands hanging in the balance on Wednesday. 

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At tea on day two, South Africa were 176/7, still 47 runs behind India’s first-innings haul. 

Keegan Petersen’s second half-century in Test cricket and as many in two Tests was a delight to watch, with his shot-making all around the ground impressive throughout. 

The 28-year-old has kept his side in this contest, and he starred in two promising partnerships with Rassie van der Dussen (21) and Temba Bavuma (28), who again looked to be in sublime form before he fell to Mohammed Shami (2/39).  

It has been an innings of the highest quality, and South Africa have ‘KP’s’ 70* to thank for where they are in this fight. 

Kyle Verreynne (0) was out second ball to Shami, who showed his class with a devastating double-blow that catapulted India back into the match just when it looked like Bavuma and Petersen were taking things away from them. 

India’s seamers, for the most part of the day, have asked the right questions of the South African batters by landing the ball on a nagging length and beating the bat and finding the edge numerous times. 

Petersen, playing in just his fifth Test match, has left well throughout his 159-ball knock so far, but he has been quick to pounce on anything even remotely loose. He is fast becoming the story of day two, and that would be solidified if the Paarl-born newcomer could find a way to three figures in the evening session.

Marco Jansen (7) was out clean bowled by a Jasprit Bumrah (3/29) screamer with the final ball of the session and the Proteas have only Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi to come. 

The Proteas could not have asked for better batting conditions on the second morning, but they were off to the wobbliest of starts. 

Aiden Markram (8) lasted just two balls at the start of play, leaving a length delivery from the highly-skilled Jasprit Bumrah that cannoned into his off stump. 

It wasn’t pretty from the Proteas opener, who has now scored just 60 runs in his five knocks this series. 

Initial thoughts that the ball had jagged back off the surface were short-lived as replays revealed the slightest movement. Instead, it was the Bumrah angle that deceived Markram, whose second innings in this Test now becomes an important one for him. 

Scores in brief:

India 223 (Kohli 79, Pujara 43, Rabada 4/73, Jansen 3/55)

SA 176/7 (Petersen 70*, Bavuma 28, Bumrah 2/28, Shami 2/39, Yadav 2/50)

SA trail by 47 runs with 3 first-innings wickets in hand

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