Du Plessis, de Villiers hold fort for Proteas

Johannesburg, Dec 22 : The South Africa batsman made sure that India do not run away with a victory by sticking out the first session on a fifth day pitch to reach 236/4 in their second innings of the first Test at the New Wanderers Stadium here Sunday.

The hosts resumed the day at 138/2 and scored a gritty 99 runs in 29 overs, at a run rate of 3.38 per over, while chasing 458. Faf du Plessis (42 not out) and wicketkeeper batsman AB de Villiers (25 not out) were at the crease when lunch was called.

India took off well when Alviro Peterson (76) dragged a Mohammed Shami delivery on to his leg stump in the fifth over of the day, without adding a single run to his overnight score.

But du Plessis and Jacques Kallis combined well to put on 54 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was adjudged leg before wicket by umpire Rod Tucker off Zaheer Khan -- who thus became the fourth Indian bowler and second pacer to take 300 wickets in Test cricket.

However, the right handed batsman was left disappointed as replays showed a thick inside edge before the ball hit his pads when batting on 34.

The 35-year-old Zaheer joined the elite company of leg spinner Anil Kumble (619 wickets), all-rounder Kapil Dev (434) and offie Harbhajan Singh (413) in his 89th match. He also becomes the most successful left arm fast bowler after Pakistani great Wasim Akram (414) and Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas (355).

The match is evenly poised with South Africa needing 222 runs for victory while six wickets in the next two sessions can help India seal a historic win against the Proteas.

--IANS (Posted on 22-12-2013)

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