Pujara and Rahane played patiently at the end of day 2 to make sure India don’t lose more than 2 wickets before stumps.
Shardul Thakur bowled a magnificent spell of bowling to pick up 7 wickets against the Proteas.
South Africa was only able to get a lead of only 27 runs in the first innings.
India 1st innings 202 all-out
Rahul 50 Jensen 4-31 Ashwin 46 Olivier 3-64 Agarwal 26 Rabada 3-64
South Africa 1st innings 229 all-out
Petersen 62 Thakur 7-61 Bavuma 51 Shami 2-52 D. Elgar 28
India 2nd innings 85-2
Pujara 35* Jensen 1-18 Agarwal 23 Olivier 1-22
Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen played nicely in the first hour and survived the difficult period in the morning session.
When the score reached 88, Thakur bowled a good back-of-length delivery, which Elgar poked at and got a thick edge straight into the hands of the wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Petersen batted well but after playing a superb knock of 62 runs, he was caught at the second slip off Shardul’s delivery.
Rassie van der Dussen (1 run off 17 balls) again failed to score big runs as he was also given caught behind on Shardul Thakur’s bowling.
When South Africa was struggling on 102-4, the skipper Temba Bavuma and the new wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne built a much-needed partnership of 60 runs for the 5th wicket.
But when the partnership was looking good, Thakur trapped Verreynne on an outside off-length delivery that came back in sharply and the batter was straightaway given LBW out by the umpire.
The South African skipper, Temba Bavuma scored a crucial half-century to bring his side closer to the first innings total of India.
Thakur grabbed his fifth wicket of the innings by dismissing Bavuma on 51 runs.
Bavuma was caught down the leg side by Rishabh Pant.
Mohammad Shami didn’t waste much time in sending Rabada back into the pavilion for a duck and South Africa was 7 down on just 179 runs.
Maharaj and Jansen put up a brilliant 38 runs partnership for the 8th wicket to go past the first innings total of the Indian team. B
oth Maharaj and Jansen scored 21 runs each.
South Africa was all-out on 229 runs, getting a lead of just 27 runs.
Shardul Thakur’s magnificent 7-wicket haul
The South African batters were prepared for Shami, Siraj, and Bumrah but Shardul Thakur came out of the syllabus for them today.
Thakur claimed a magnificent 7-wicket haul to drag India back into the contest.
This was the first 5 wicket haul of his career and it proved a special one for him.
Thakur’s brilliant spell didn’t allow South Africa to get a big lead in the 1st innings.
His figures of 7-61 in this innings is the best bowling figures by an Indian bowler against South Africa not only in South African conditions but overall in Test cricket.
India lost their in-form batter KL Rahul early on in the second innings as he was dismissed by Jansen after scoring only 8 runs.
Mayank Agarwal started well but he failed to score big and got out on 23 runs.
Both Pujara and Rahane are facing a challenge to save their careers in this match.
It is a great opportunity for both of them to salvage both the match and their careers.
Both played some aggressive cricket today to put the pressure back on the bowlers.
Pujara was looking more comfortable and he is still unbeaten on 35 runs alongside Rahane who is not out on 11 runs.