Sune, Laura put on a show as South Africa takes Test into day four

With Luus scoring her maiden Test hundred (109) and Wolvaardt remaining unbeaten on 93, South Africa hopes will rest on the latter and Marizanne Kapp to try and press for a draw.
Sune Luus (R) celebrates her hundred with Laura Wolvaardt on Sunday
Sune Luus (R) celebrates her hundred with Laura Wolvaardt on Sunday(Photo | P Ravikumar, EPS)

CHENNAI: The beauty of Test cricket is that it gives a player an opportunity to correct one's mistakes and bounce back stronger in their second essay. And that's what South Africa did on day three of the one-off Test against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. Sune Luus struck a fine century as the Proteas fought hard to post 232 for two in their second innings after being forced to follow-on by India earlier in the day.

South Africa were all out for 266 in their first innings thanks to an eight-wicket haul by off-spinner Sneh Rana.  South Africa still trail India by 105 runs, when stumps were drawn. With Luus scoring her maiden Test hundred (109) and Wolvaardt remaining unbeaten on 93, South Africa hopes will rest on the latter and Marizanne Kapp to try and press for a draw on the fourth and final day on Monday.

Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 236 for four, Marizanne Kapp and Nadine de Klerk could not sustain the momentum as they were done in by the early morning conditions and a surface that was increasingly aiding spin with variable bounce.

It was an eventful opening session for India when Rana made best use of the surface to bag five wickets and with three already in her kitty from Saturday, she finished with figures of 8/77. South Africa lost six wickets for just 30 runs. Rana got the first breakthrough in the fifth of the day to dismiss a well-set Kapp for 74 with a peach of a delivery. Three overs later, Deepti Sharma picked up her second wicket as debutant Annerie Dercksen was trapped right in front. Rana's figures of 8/77 was the second-best in a Women's Test innings for India after record-holder Neetu David's eight for 53 against England in Jamshedpur in 1995.

In the second innings South Africa batters showed more discipline, patience and grit to fight to take the battle on to the final day. After South Africa lost Anneke Bosch cheaply, Wolvaardt and Luus batted sensibly and thus they could handle the India spinners easily. Luus applied better this time around and used her feet well to counter Rana and Gayakwad. Her sweep shot off Rana was elegance personified and her neatly timed cover drive off Gayakwad into the covers fence drew many admirers.

The duo shared a mammoth 190-run partnership for the second wicket to blunt the hopes of the Indian attack and provide South Africa a semblance of hope of a draw. This was South Africa's highest partnership for any wicket in women's Tests.

Eventually, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur broke the 190-run stand when she castled Luus. This dismissal brought Kapp and she joined her skipper Wolvaardt and they batted out the remainder of the day's play without further damage. India took the new ball just three overs before stumps but it did not yield any result.

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