NEW DELHI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Zubayr Hamza scored his first fifty in test cricket but India claimed four wickets in the morning session to stay on course for a big first innings lead in their third and final test on Monday.
Hamza made 62 and added 91 runs with Temba Bavuma but it was an otherwise insipid batting performance by South Africa who were 129-6 at lunch in reply to India’s first innings total of 497-9 declared in Ranchi.
Debutant George Linde was batting on 10 at the break and Dane Piedt on four, with the spectre of a follow-on looming large for South Africa who are still 368 runs behind.
Staring at a series whitewash, the tourists began day three on a precarious 9-2, and it got only worse as they lost skipper Faf du Plessis in the very first over.
Du Plessis made one before Umesh Yadav fired a peach of a delivery that landed on seam, moved just enough to beat the outside edge and clipped the off stump.
Hamza brought up his maiden fifty in his second test with a six off Ravichandran Ashwin, hitting 10 boundaries in all and spearheading South Africa’s resistance.
He survived an lbw appeal off Ravindra Jadeja, but fell the very next ball when the spinner went wide of the crease to slide in a delivery that forced Hamza on the backfoot and pegged back back his leg-stump.
Bavuma, who made 32, joined him in the pavilion in the next over after becoming debutant Shahbaz Nadeem’s maiden test victim.
Nadeem drew Bavuma out of his crease and turned the ball past the bat for wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha to whip off the bails.
Jadeja then clean bowled Heinrich Klaasen for six to compound South Africa’s crisis. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Richard Pullin)