Sun, Mar 19, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Maharaj claims six to lead South Africa to series win

AFP, WELLINGTON

South Africa’s Quentin de Kock, left, celebrates after New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls was bowled out in the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday.

Photo: SNPA via AP

Keshav Maharaj yesterday took a career-best six wickets to set up an eight-wicket win for South Africa inside three days after New Zealand crumpled in Wellington.

The win gave South Africa an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the series with one Test to play.

Faced with the guile of Maharaj’s left-arm spin and the seam and bounce of Morne Morkel, New Zealand struggled through their second innings to be all out for 171.

Maharaj finished with 6-40, the best figures and second five-wicket haul in his fledgling six-Test career, while Morkel took the top off the New Zealand innings, including the key wicket of Kane Williamson, to have 3-50.

That left South Africa with an 81-run target, which they knocked off for the loss of two wickets in 25 overs.

Five sessions earlier, New Zealand had control of the Test after a first innings 268 and having South Africa 94-6 in reply.

However, from there it was all the Proteas who rallied to be all out for 359 to take a 91-run lead into the second innings.

On a flattening track and with nearly three days remaining, there was time for New Zealand to mount a strong comeback.

Instead, their second innings was done in 63.2 overs, with a career-best 80 by Jeet Raval and a 65-run partnership between Raval and B.J. Watling (29) the only sign of resistance.

Raval’s dismissal signaled the beginning of the end, as the last five wickets fell for 16 runs.

New Zealand said before the Test they did not particularly want a green wicket given the high quality of the South African pace attack, but it was South Africa’s spinners who did serious damage, claiming six wickets in each innings, with Maharaj having match figures of 8-87.

When South Africa resumed day three at 349-9, Morkel and Vernon Philander added a further 10 runs in a 57-run last wicket partnership.

Morkel followed up by rapidly removing Tom Latham, Williamson and Neil Broom to have New Zealand at 3-64, still 27 behind and with only seven wickets left.

Once Williamson fell cheaply, New Zealand needed the remaining batsmen to step up, but instead Broom, Henry Nicholls and Jimmy Neesham could only add 31 in total before Watling joined Raval to halt the flow of wickets.

INDIA VS AUSTRALIA

AFP, RANCHI, India

Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins yesterday claimed four wickets to dent India’s response, despite Cheteshwar Pujara’s dogged century, on day three of the third Test in Ranchi.

India were 306-6 at stumps, still trailing the visitors by 91 runs in their first innings. Pujara (130) and Wriddhiman Saha (18) were batting at close of play.

Cummins, making a return after playing his only Test for Australia in 2011, got crucial breaks including the prized scalp of India skipper Virat Kohli.

Cummins, 23, was ably supported by fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood and spinner Steve O’Keefe, who took a wicket each on pitch that still looked good for batting.

Pujara, who was involved in a 102-run second-wicket stand with overnight partner Murali Vijay (82), was holding the innings together with his 11th Test century.

Pujara hit 17 boundaries, in an otherwise sedate knock, to keep India’s hopes alive of surpassing Australia’s first innings total of 451.

Puajara built crucial partnerships with Ajinkya Rahane (14) and Karun Nair (23), but Australia’s pacemen rattled India’s middle order with some inspired bowling.

Cummins, who struck twice in the afternoon session, got Rahane caught behind and Hazlewood bowled Nair with a beautiful reverse swinging delivery in the final session.

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