India paceman Zaheer Khan claimed his 300th Test wicket yesterday as the tourists chipped away at South Africa’s top order to leave the Proteas at 236 for four chasing 458 for victory at lunch on the final day of their first Test at the Wanderers.
Zaheer reached the milestone with the scalp of the impressive Jacques Kallis (34) when the all-rounder was adjudged leg before wicket by Australian umpire Rod Tucker.
However, there was a big inside-edge that should have saved the veteran South Africa player, but with no referral system available in the series due to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s refusal to use technology, Kallis was unable to challenge the decision.
The controversial manner of the dismissal will mean little to Zaheer, who became the fourth India bowler to claim 300 Test wickets, behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (413).
The loss of Kallis means that India need just six more wickets in two sessions to record a famous victory after Mohammed Shami bowled Alviro Petersen (76) off an inside edge, as the opener failed to add to his overnight score.
Faf du Plessis (42) and A.B. de Villiers (25) were to resume in the afternoon session focusing only on survival with all thoughts of chasing a world record target for victory firmly in the very back of their minds.
However, their opinions could change if the pair made it through the next two hours of play unscathed, especially since De Villiers’ natural game is to score quickly.
Shami continues to be the most impressive of India’s bowlers, with the paceman returning figures of two for 63.
He bowled Hashim Amla (4) late in the day on Saturday, while the other South Africa wicket to fall was that of Graeme Smith (44), who was run out.
India have never lost at the Wanderers in the three previous Tests played at the Johannesburg venue, winning by 123 runs in 2006 and playing out draws in 1992 and 1997.
The second Test of the two-match series is to take place in Durban, South Africa, on Thursday.