India took control of the first Test against South Africa as they moved carefully on to 109-2 at tea on the third day yesterday.
The tourists led by 145 runs on a tricky pitch which will make chasing anything over 250 a challenging task for South Africa, who are a bowler light after Morne Morkel was sent to hospital with an ankle injury.
Cheteshwar Pujara (39 not out) and first-innings centurion Virat Kohli (6 not out) were to resume after the interval knowing that a good session with the bat would leave their side in a commanding position with two days left.
The only wicket to fall in the afternoon session was that of Murali Vijay (39), who edged Jacques Kallis to wicketkeeper A.B. de Villiers.
Captain Graeme Smith has a further worry in that regular leg-spinner Imran Tahir has bowled so poorly that De Villiers was given the last over before tea, with Hashim Amla donning the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
Paceman Vernon Philander earlier became the fastest South Africa player to take 100 Test wickets when he enticed Shikhar Dhawan (15) to steer the ball to second slip Kallis, who took his 199th catch in Tests.
Philander claimed his 100th victim in his 19th Test, the joint-sixth quickest to the milestone, and he reached the mark one match faster than South Africa’s Dale Steyn.
The tourists made short work of the South Africa tail in the morning, dismissing the hosts for 244 as they picked up the final four wickets for the addition of 31 runs.
Philander (59) resumed with Faf du Plessis (20) and hit the first ball of the morning for four to reach his third Test half-century, but he was the first to go when he edged Zaheer Khan to Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip,
Steyn (10) was pouched at slip by Rohit Sharma to become Ishant Sharma’s fourth victim, before Zaheer had Du Plessis caught behind and then bowled Morkel (7). Zaheer finished with figures of four for 88, while Sharma was four for 79.