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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Fourth Test: South Africa stonewall at Kotla after Rahane ton

Fourth Test: South Africa stonewall at Kotla after Rahane ton

Last updated on: December 06, 2015 17:40 IST

South African captain Hashim Amla defends a ball

IMAGE: South African captain Hashim Amla defends a ball during Day Four of the fourth Test against India at Ferozshah Kotla. Amla remained unbeaten on 23, having faced 207 balls, at stumps. Photograph: BCCI

South Africa resorted to dogged stonewalling in their pursuit of an improbable 481-run victory target after Ajinkya Rahane stroked his second century of the match to tighten India's grip on the fourth and final Test on Sunday.

- Scorecard

The hosts declared their second innings on 267-5 half an hour before the lunch break as soon as Rahane (100) became the fifth Indian to score centuries in each innings of a Test match on the penultimate day at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium.

Skipper Hashim Amla led South Africa's extraordinarily dour reply, taking 46 balls to get off the mark as the visitors crawled to 72-2 at stumps after 72 overs of relentless blocking over two dot ball-littered sessions.

- Photos (Day Four)

Amla was unbeaten after making 23 painstaking runs from 207 balls while AB de Villiers managed 11 off 91 with South Africa still 409 behind the victory target.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India celebrates the wicket of Temba Bavuma

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin of India celebrates the wicket of South Africa's Temba Bavuma during Day Four of the fourth Test at Ferozshah Kotla. Photograph: BCCI

The visitors lost Dean Elgar cheaply before Amla and Temba Bavuma (34) started blocking balls after balls in a desperate bid to take the match into the fifth and final day.

Even after Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Bavuma, the score moved at a funereal pace as de Villiers too curbed his natural aggression, needing 33 balls to get off the mark.

Despite the presence of contemporary cricket's most destructive batsman in de Villiers and one of the most fluent scorers in Amla, the first 10 overs of their partnership did not yield a single run and things did not improve later either.

In a low-scoring series in which no other batsman from either side managed a single hundred, Rahane took 206 balls to bring up his second of the match and the sixth of his Test career with the help of eight boundaries and three sixes.

Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring a century in the second innings of the fourth and final Test match against South Africa in Delhi

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring a century in the second innings of the fourth and final Test match against South Africa in Delhi. Photograph: BCCI

After India resumed on 190-4, Rahane played a couple of uppish drives before bending his knees for an upper-cut, chipping a Morne Morkel delivery over third man in an uncharacteristic show of aggression.

At the other end, captain Virat Kohli (88) added five runs to his overnight score before a low Kyle Abbott delivery trapped him leg before to end the series-high 154-run fifth wicket partnership.

Rahane could not be denied his hundred, though.

The 27-year-old slog-swept Imran Tahir over midwicket for his second six of the innings and stepped out against Elgar for his third to storm into the 90s.

Rahane then took a quick single off leg-spinner Tahir to join an elite league of Indians that also included Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar (thrice), Rahul Dravid (twice) and Kohli. 

Source:
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