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Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen knuckle down for Proteas against India

Proteas batsman Keegan Petersen. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Proteas batsman Keegan Petersen. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 12, 2022

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Cape Town – Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen withstood a fierce examination from India’s bowlers to put the Proteas in a solid position at 100/3 at lunch on day two of the third Test at Newlands on Wednesday.

South Africa now trail the visitors by 123 runs, and will hope to kick on in the afternoon session after scoring 83 off 27 overs this morning.

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It was a disastrous start for the home side on what promised to be a perfect day for batting, with the sun beating down on the track.

Proteas opener Aiden Markram has had his issues on off-stump, and appeared to change his guard for this match by standing on middle instead of off-stump, in order to avoid being an lbw candidate.

But his struggles continued as with just the second ball of the day, he shouldered arms to a delivery from Indian star Jasprit Bumrah. The ball had been pitched on about a fourth-stump line, and there is no question that Markram should have played the ball.

Bumrah is known for jagging the ball back sharply into the right-handers as well, and that is exactly what he did to strike Markram’s off-stump and send the 27-year-old packing for eight – his scores in the series so far have been 13, 1, 7, 31 and 8.

That left the Proteas in a real spot of bother at 17/2, with both openers Markram and captain Dean Elgar back in the pavilion.

Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj was joined by Petersen in the middle, and the pair had to withstand some tight bowling from Bumrah and Mohammed Shami – with a couple of edges dropping short of the slips as well.

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At one stage, Petersen had scored just four runs off 40 balls, with Bumrah’s figures reading 9-4-8-2 after the first hour.

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Maharaj was a bit more positive than his partner, and looked set for a lengthy stint at the crease to help blunt the Indian attack for the South African middle-order coming in later.

But just before the first drinks break, Umesh Yadav moved the ball back sharply and right through the gap between Maharaj’s bat and pad, and the left-arm spinner was bowled for 25.

That saw the Proteas on 45/3, which brought Rassie van der Dussen to the wicket.

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Petersen then survived an lbw review off the bowling of Shardul Thakur, who beat the inside edge to hit the back leg. The on-field decision was not out, but Indian captain Virat Kohli decided to review the incident, with the TV replay showing the ball clearly bouncing over the stumps.

That seemed to give Petersen the impetus to take on the bowling a bit, and he hit a boundary soon afterwards to finally get going on what had been a tough morning for him.

What really gave the little right-hander confidence was a superb punch off the back foot for four off Yadav, as Petersen played with more assurance from that point. He hit a couple of wonderful boundaries, including a delightful clip off his pads off Thakur, as well as a reverse-sweep off Ravi Ashwin.

Van der Dussen was watchful initially, but also found his rhythm before lunch to go into the break on 17, with Petersen on 40 as the pair reached their 50 partnership off 80 balls.

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