Riding on Shardul Thakur’s historic 7-wicket haul on Day 2 of the Johannesburg Test, India managed to stay ahead of South Africa despite losing KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal towards the end of the day. On Tuesday, “Lord” Thakur posted his career-best figures of 7/61 which is also the best figure by any Indian in a Test in South Africa.
Indian batters quickly erased the 27-run lead posted by South Africa and led India to end the second day’s play with a 58-run lead in the second innings. At the end of the day, India’s scoreboard read 85/2 with Ajinkya Rahane (11 off 22 balls) and Cheteshwar Pujara (35 off 42 balls) on the ground.
Earlier in the day, Shardul began his maiden 7-wicket haul by putting an end to the 74-run second-wicket stand between Portea captain Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen. He dismissed Elger on 28 off 120 balls before sending Petersen back to the dressing room for 62.
Shardul then took the wickets of Temba Bavuma and Kyle Verreyne putting South Africa under pressure. He also bagged the wickets of Jansen and Olivier to end South Africa’s innings at 229.
After posting such heroic figures, Shardul told reporters, “I am very happy about it. I have always said that I always focus on what I can do for the team. Today, Shami and Bumrah put good pressure, so my focus was to take wickets and that was how I planned. The match situation is tricky right now and we have to get as big a lead as possible. The last two days won’t be easy to bat on this pitch. So it is good that we get as big a lead as possible.”
“It is good that my wickets came in handy for the team and they couldn’t take too much of a lead. Pujara and Rahane batted well and there were no messages for them as all the batters are experienced. Pujara looked comfortable and he had a few loose balls as they were looking to take wickets. He could manage a few breads and butter shots against the spinner,” he added.
Chasing their first-ever series victory in South Africa, India will commence the third day’s play with an aim of putting a daunting lead on the scoreboard for South Africa.