JOHANNESBURG, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada frustrated India’s pace attack on a seaming wicket to help South Africa to 81 for three at lunch on day two of the third and final test at The Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Rabada (30) put on 64 with Hashim Amla (32 not out) before edging Ishant Sharma (1-20) to Ajinkya Rahane at third slip five minutes before the interval.
South Africa trail India’s first innings total by 106 runs and Amla will resume after the break with AB de Villiers (0 not out) in what will be another key stand for the home side as they seek a historic 3-0 clean sweep in the series.
Rabada batted for more than two hours, not only tiring the visitors’ all-seam attack but also taking the shine off the new ball.
Opener Dean Elgar (4) was the other batsman out in the morning session after South Africa had resumed on six for one. He edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-17) to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Both Rabada and Amla lived dangerously after that against a ball that was jagging in both directions as cracks on the pitch opened up in the Highveld sun.
But in the last half-hour of the session they were able to lift the scoring rate to put South Africa in control of a test that is unlikely to last the full five days.
India had been dismissed for 187 on the opening day, a score batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (50) felt would have been worth 300 on a less seam-friendly surface. Rabada (3-39) was the pick of the home bowlers.
South Africa won the opening two tests in Cape Town and Pretoria. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by David Goodman)