Rahane goes on attack as India build lead over S Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – India batsman Ajinkya Rahane took the fight to South Africa’s bowlers to help his side extend their second innings lead to 192 runs as the tourists reached 199 for six at tea on a treacherous wicket on day three of the third and final test on Friday.

The cracks widened further on the Wanderers pitch overnight and a number of balls spat up off a good length, striking the batsmen and leading to at least three discussions between umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar over whether the surface was still playable.

The second of those involved both captains, Virat Kohli and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis.

With the batsmen unable to trust the bounce, the umpires will have to decide if player welfare is under threat because the surface has become too dangerous.

Rahane (46 not out), who was not selected for the first two tests of the series despite his excellent record outside of India, has put on a seventh-wicket stand of 51 in 71 balls with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (23 not out), the highest stand of the innings so far.

Sloppy South Africa let both batsmen off the hook in the half-hour before tea with dropped catches off simple chances as Dean Elgar spilled Kumar at third slip and Andile Phehlukwayo put down Rahane at deep cover.

The test has now swung firmly in the favour of the tourists, who scored 99 runs for the loss of just two wickets on the seamer-friendly surface.

Kagiso Rabada (3-59) was the pick of the home bowlers, with his in-swinging delivery to bowl India captain Virat Kohli (41) unplayable.

Rabada also produced a yorker to remover Murali Vijay (25) with the last ball before lunch, and then produced a brilliant one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Hardik Pandya (4).

Venon Philander (2-44) and Morne Morkel (1-38) have been the other wicket-takers for the home side.

South Africa have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, but are seeking a first ever clean-sweep over India.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis and Toby Chopra)

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