CENTURION, Jan 16: The much-vaunted Indian top order struggled yet again against quality fast bowling as the visitors stared at a series defeat at the close of fourth day in the second cricket Test against South Africa here today.
Chasing 287 for a win, which will be the highest ever at this venue if successful, Murali Vijay (9), Lokesh Rahul (4) and captain Virat Kohli (5) were dismissed cheaply in the final session of the day as India were reduced to 35 for 3 from 23 overs at stumps.
Debutant Lungi Ngidi grabbed the wickets of Kohli and Rahul while Kagiso Rabada dismissed Vijay to rock the Indian second innings and place South Africa in a commanding position of clinching the three-match series with one Test to go in Johannesburg from January 24.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Parthiv Patel were batting on 11 and 5 respectively at the close of the day�s play after an extended final session.
The visitors now need 252 more runs on the final day tomorrow to win the Test with seven second innings wickets in hand. It will be a tall task, if not an impossible one, for India as 249 is the highest total chased down successfully by any side at the Centurion, a feat achieved by England in 2000.
South Africa were 1-0 up in the three-match Test series after their 72-run victory in Cape Town.
A series defeat would also snap India�s nine-series winning streak.
India got off to a poor start and Vijay was the first one to go as one delivery from Rabada (1/9) in the eighth over kept low and nipped back. The batsman got an inside edge and was bowled.
Rahul�s dismissal was worse, in that he was caught at gully, imparting catching practice off Ngidi four overs later.
The big blow came when, in the 16th over, Ngidi trapped Kohli lbw as another ball kept low. The batsman reviewed but DRS showed three reds against him. � PTI
South Africa 1st innings: 335
India 1st innings: 307
South Africa 2nd innings:
258 all out in 91.3 overs
Markram lbw b Bumrah 1
Elgar c Rahul b Shami 61
Amla lbw b Bumrah 1
De Villiers c Patel b Shami 80
Du Plessis c & b Bumrah 48
De Kock c Patel b Shami 12
Philander c Vijay b Ishant 26
Maharaj c Patel b Ishant 6
Rabada c Kohli b Shami 4
Morkel not out 10
Ngidi c Vijay b Ashwin 1
Extras: (B-2 LB-5 W-1) 8
Total: (All out in 91.3 Overs) 258
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-3, 3-144, 4-151, 5-163, 6-209, 7-215, 8-245, 9-245.
Bowling: Ravichandran Ashwin 29.3-6-78-1, Jasprit Bumrah 20-3-70-3, Ishant Sharma 17-3-40-2, Mohammed Shami 16-3-49-4, Hardik Pandya 9-1-14-0.
India 2nd innings:
Vijay b Rabada 9
Rahul c Maharaj b Ngidi 4
Pujara not out 11
Kohli lbw b Ngidi 5
Patel not out 5
Extras: (b 1) 1
Total: (For 3 wkts in 23 overs) 35
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-16, 3-26.
Bowling: Philander 6-3-6-0, Rabada 5-2-9-1, Ngidi 6-2-14-2, Morkel 5-3-4-0, Maharaj 1-0-1-0.