South Africa, fighting for draw, reach 94/3 at lunch on Day 5

Monday, Dec 7, 2015,12:52 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Ravindra Jadeja ended Hashim Amla’s dogged vigil with a beautiful delivery but AB de Villiers frustrated the Indian bowlers no end as South Africa crawled to 94/3 in 107 overs at lunch, raising visions of a draw in the fourth and final cricket Test here today.

The Proteas continued with their ‘Blockathon’ as they added only 21 runs in the first session of the final day consuming another 35 overs in the process.

Amla faced 244 balls for his ‘epic’ 25 before Jadeja bowled him with one that drifted in and then straightened to knock the off-stump.

AB de Villiers showed another side of his game as he gave Amla stiff competition in stonewalling, reaching unbeaten 26 off 203 balls with four boundaries to his credit.

If Amla was not enough, in came Faf Du Plessis (2 not out off 61 balls), who surpassed his skipper’s South African record of playing 46 dot balls before opening account. Du Plessis played 52 dots before taking a single of the 53rd delivery.

Du Plessis has done this kind of defending earlier in Adelaide (2012) when he batted close to eight hours (7 hours and 46 minutes) to score 110 and denied the Aussies what looked like an inevitable win. And his partner in crime was none other than ‘ABD’ who had played 220 balls for his 33 in that particular match.

Du Plessis in fact also surpassed Grant Flower (51 balls vs New Zealand in 2000) to become the third slowest player of all time to open his account

Amla’s strike-rate of 10.44 might have put everyone to sleep but his was a perfect example of how to save a Test match from a miraculously hopeless position. His innings might set future templates on how to save a match as the art of drawing a Test match has become virtually extinct.

Obviously, the drab Kotla wicket which became literally lifeless on the final morning did help but it is never easy to save a Test match by batting out more than 160 overs.

Such was the mindset of the South African batsmen that Jadeja has now bowled 16 consecutive maiden overs with his figures reading 35-28-10-1. Ashwin has 2/43 from 35 overs.

There was the odd good ball like the one that got Amla but both the Indian spinners’ limitations on slightly unhelpful pitch was thoroughly exposed. Ashwin went back to his old habit of trying too many variations without much success. When the pacers bowled, it did not carry to the wicketkeeper.