Maharaj, Philander forge record breaking partnership to stall India's charge
Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander brought some much-needed determination and fight to the Protea’s attempt at keeping the Freedom Series alive.
JOHANNESBURG – Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander brought some much-needed determination and fight to the Protea’s attempt at keeping the Freedom Series alive.
The pair defied the Indian attack for more than 40 overs in a record ninth-wicket stand of 109 on Saturday.
The day nevertheless finished with India still very much in control of the second Test match with a first innings lead of 326 and two full days left to play.
Maharaj scored his maiden Test match half-century (72 off 132 balls) and made the top score in the innings to emulate the performance of Pat Symcox against Pakistan in 1998 of a No. 10 batsman making the top score.
Philander finished unbeaten on 44 off 192 balls which was, as for Maharaj, his longest innings in Test cricket.
Their partnership was a new South African ninth wicket record against India, improving on the 91 that Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt had managed in the previous Test match.
☕ Tea time in Pune!— ICC (@ICC) October 12, 2019
South Africa score 61 runs for loss of two wickets in the second session.
Philander and Maharaj are fighting hard, but the visitors are still 204 runs away from avoiding the follow-on.
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It was a gutsy performance from the two tail-enders with Maharaj favouring a right shoulder injury and Philander taking a couple of blows to his right hand.
What the pair have done is to take a significant amount of time out of the game and will have provided the inspiration to attempt to save the game even though a win is out of the equation.
The only other partnership of note was the 75 for the sixth wicket between Faf du Plessis, who made his second half-century of the series (64 off 117 balls, 9 fours and a six) and Quinton de Kock.
It remains to be seen whether the home side will enforce the follow on but they will be confident of forcing a result in the next two days regardless of whether they decide to bat again.