South Africa unscathed in battle against India

Openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen weathered a difficult 45 minutes to take South Africa to tea at 38.

Indian fielder Shikhar Dhawan attempts to runout South African batsman Alviro Petersen on the fourth day of the first cricket Test between South Africa and India at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on December 21, 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen weathered a difficult 45 minutes to take South Africa to tea at 38 without loss chasing an unlikely victory target of 458 on the fourth day of the first test against India at the Wanderers on Saturday.

Smith (nine) and Petersen (28) were circumspect as they negotiated their way to the interval in what is likely a quest to save the test with four sessions remaining.

With thunderstorms predicted later in the day, India will be keen to get into the wickets quickly after they were bowled out for 421 in their second innings as Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored with 153.

Virat Kohli missed out on the chance to become just the fourth Indian batsman to score a century in each innings of a test when he was out for 96. Had he added the four extra runs, he would have joined Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid on the list of those who have achieved the feat in the past.

Kohli was angry with himself at the manner of his dismissal, but the shot was on as he sought to cut an innocuous delivery from off-spinner JP Duminy to the point boundary, but instead nicked a thin edge to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.

It was one of four wickets to fall in the morning session after India had resumed on 284-2 and South Africa toiled for an hour for a breakthrough which when it came, triggered the departure of three more batsmen.

Pujara added 18 to his overnight score before he was caught by De Villiers off Jacques Kallis and Rohit Sharma (six) was unlucky to be dismissed when he played on a delivery from the same bowler that stayed low.

Kohli was next to go, before Ajinkya Rahane (15) was out in the final scheduled over before lunch, caught by Smith at slip off Duminy.

After the break Vernon Philander had Ravichandran Ashwin (seven) caught at cover, before MS Dhoni (29) holed out to substitute fielder Dean Elgar on the cover boundary off the same bowler.

Imran Tahir, who bowled much better on day four, had Ishant Sharma (four) trapped leg before wicket and then bowled Mohammed Shami (four).

The South African pace attack was been depleted of strike-bowler Morne Morkel, who turned his ankle in the field on Friday, which meant 38-year-old Kallis has had to take on more of the workload and he has responded with figures of three for 68.