An unbeaten century from Rishabh Pant helped India set a 212-run target for South Africa on day three of the decisive third and final Test at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Thursday. 

Pant’s counter-attacking knock, of 100 from 139 deliveries, constituted more than 50% of India’s total as the visitors were bundled out for just 198, with skipper Virat Kohli‘s 143-ball 29 being the second-highest individual score. 

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This was also the first time in Test history that all 20 batsmen from a side were caught out, as all Indian batsmen recording the same mode of dismissal in both the innings. 

India’s day began in the worst way possible as the tourists lost both senior batters – Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane -within the first two overs of the day. Pujara (9) failed to add to his overnight score and was dismissed by Marco Jansen after Keegan Petersen took a stunning, one-handed catch at leg gully.

Kagiso Rabada struck in the very next over to send Rahane (1) packing, piling further misery on the former vice-captain, to leave India reeling at 58 for four. 

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Skipper Virat Kohli (29) and Pant then added 94 runs with the latter taking the initiative, taking on the Proteas bowling attack in typical, aggressive fashion. The 24-year-old brought up his fifty from just 60 deliveries as India went into the Lunch break at 130 for four. 

Pant continued his aggression in the second session as well, smashing Keshav Maharaj for two back-to-back sixes, but lost his partner Kohli soon after. 

The 34-year-old’s gritty knock included 143 deliveries for just 29 runs as he supported Pant’s aggression from the other end. He perished in a very typical style, nicking a delivery outside off stump for Aiden Markram to catch in the slips. 

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A highlight of Pant’s innings was his batting with the tail, taking a single off either the fourth or fifth delivery shielding the Number 9, 10 and 11 as much as possible.

For South Africa, Marco Jansen was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up four wickets to add to the three he took in the first innings – taking his series tally to 17. Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada took three wickets each. 

India will now rely on its potent bowling attack to restrict the hosts to less than 212 runs as they look to seal a first-ever Test series win in South Africa.