South Africa set India a daunting target of 307
India A 201 & 3 for 1 need another 304 runs to beat South Africa A 341 & 166 for 5 dec (Elgar 62, Nadeem 3-56)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa A provided the prospect of an exciting finish to the second unofficial Test by setting India A a steep target of 307 on the third day in Pretoria. The visitors scored three after losing M Vijay's wicket 13 balls before stumps. South Africa, however, have also suffered a blow as fast bowler Wayne Parnell complained of shortness of breath on Sunday and is still in the hospital under observation and for tests. He bowled only two overs in India's first innings.
India ended up batting twice on the third day after they resumed at 145 for 6 in reply to South Africa's 341. Ambati Rayudu added only 15 to his overnight score of 14 before he became offspinner Simon Harmer's third wicket. The tail could not survive for too long either, the remaining three wickets fell within nine runs when Ishwar Pandey and Siddarth Kaul were out for ducks. Parvez Rasool's unbeaten 32, however, ensured India crossed the 200-run mark. After disappointing figures of 1 for 155 in the previous match, Harmer finished with 4 for 74 and left-arm pacer Beuran Hendricks bagged his eighth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket to give South Africa an important 140-run lead.
The hosts added to India's miseries when openers Reeza Hendricks and Dean Elgar put on 53, even though they scored at less than two runs per over, crossing the 50-run mark in the 26th over. Reeza and Rilee Rossouw fell to left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem in successive overs. Nadeem had Reeza caught at slip by Dinesh Karthik for 20 and Rossouw was bowled for a four-ball duck. Elgar, along with Temba Bavuma, took South Africa past 100 before Rasool bowled Elgar for 62. Justing Ontong, captain of the South Africa side, elevated their run rate with a quick 35 off 32, which included four fours and a six. South Africa declared shortly after losing Bavuma and Ontong within two overs with their lead more than 300.
India's hopes of ending the day unscathed were dashed by Beuran who got rid of Vijay in his first over, even before India had scored their first run. Nadeem came in as nightwatchman at No. 3 and survived seven deliveries. India now need another 304 runs to win the series 2-0, and South Africa nine wickets to draw level.
Beuran was confident of maintaining the pressure on India on a deteriorating fourth-day pitch. "We are slightly ahead of them so we are quite confident of finishing the job tomorrow," he said. "We have to take the momentum we created today and push it on tomorrow. Simon [Harmer] is going to come into the game perfectly and, with a deteriorating day four pitch, it is going to be an interesting day."
Beuran had a tough time of it in the unofficial Tests against Australia A earlier this month, where, save for one burst where he ran through the middle order to claim a five-for, he had figures of 1 for 213 in three innings. The difference, he said, was in his approach: "The difference is that against Australia A, I played more against the names in that team, that was my downfall. Here, I played against the batsmen, not the names."