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India’s Rishabh Pant scored a superb unbeaten century but hosts South Africa made major strides towards winning the third and final test, and the series, as they reached the close on 101 for two in pursuit of 212 at Newlands on Thursday.
South Africa still require another 111 for victory on a difficult batting wicket that saw India bowled out for 198 in their second innings, a score significantly boosted by the impressive Pant.
Home captain Dean Elgar (30) and Keegan Petersen (48 not out) put on 78 for the second wicket in a partnership that swung the match in the home side’s favour.
But Elgar was out with what proved to be the last ball of the day with a strangle down the leg side as he edged seamer Jasprit Bumrah to wicketkeeper Pant.
India were earlier furious when Elgar, who made a match-winning unbeaten 96 in the second innings of the second test, earned a reprieve from the ball-tracking technology when on 22.
The delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin was deemed to be bouncing over the top of the wicket, something the livid Indian players could be heard suggesting was impossible.
A fourth-innings target of over 200 has been successfully chased only three times in 133 years at Newlands as India seek to claim a first-ever series win in South Africa.
But one of those was when the hosts managed 211 for the loss of five wickets against India in 2007 to win the test.
They also successfully chased 240 in the fourth innings of the second test of this series in Johannesburg.