NEW DELHI: Robin Peterson trapped Zaheer Khan (3) leg before after lunch to leave India reeling at 189/8, with Ajinkya Rahane fighting a lone battle on the fifth day of the second Test at Kingsmead in Durban on Monday.
Rahane hit his second half-century to erase the South African lead at lunch.
Dale Steyn struck straight away on the final day as South Africa took five wickets before lunch Monday to rapidly reduce India to 173/7.
Steyn removed Virat Kohli first ball of the day _ to a questionable decision by umpire Rod Tucker _ and bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for 32 off a superb delivery in the third over as India’s two key batsmen departed early.
India limped to seven runs ahead of South Africa’s first-innings total of 500 at lunch as Vernon Philander also dismissed Rohit Sharma lbw for 25, and spinner Robin Peterson sent captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja back for his 3-61.
Steyn’s first delivery appeared to come off Kohli’s upper arm but he was given out caught behind by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers to put top-ranked South Africa on a roll as it chases a final-day win over No. 2 India to mark veteran allrounder Kallis’ retirement from test cricket.
Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 50 for India and fighting bravely again after he made 51 not out in the tourists’ first innings score of 334. But captain Dhoni and Jadeja didn’t show the same application as the newcomer as they fell to poor shots in the last half-hour of the session to put South Africa three wickets away from victory.
The 38-year-old Kallis’ surprise decision to retire at the ground where he made his debut 18 years ago added extra motivation for the South Africans to push on in a test that has lost time throughout to weather delays in the coastal city of Durban.
After taking six wickets in the first innings, Steyn’s lifting delivery to start the last day missed Kohli’s bat and gloves and the Indian batsman expressed his displeasure with the decision as he walked off. There was no doubt for Pujara, however, when he was bowled by Steyn off a ball that pitched on middle stump and seamed away to clip the top of off stump and India went quickly from 68-2 overnight to 71-4.
Philander also utilized seam movement off the five-day-old surface to get one to duck back into Sharma and trap him in front.
Rahane and Dhoni put on 42 runs as India’s last recognized batsmen, but Dhoni tried to whip a shot through midwicket off left-arm spinner Peterson and was caught by Alviro Petersen.
Jadeja also attempted to attack Peterson and after sending one six down the ground tried a second big shot and lofted a simple catch to Morne Morkel, leaving the tourists’ tailenders with two more sessions to save the game and the short series.