Rishabh Pant was fearless without being careless during a brilliant hundred in the most adverse circumstances but South Africa were on course for a memorable series win against India on a day when visiting skipper Virat Kohli was left fuming due to a contentious DRS decision in the third and final Test, in Cape Town.
Pant's (100 not out off 139 balls) fourth Test hundred constituted for more than 50 per cent of India's shoddy second innings total of 198 with Kohli's 29 off 143 balls being the second highest individual score.
With a relatively easy target of 212 to chase, South Africa were 101 for 2 at stumps as their dogged skipper Dean Elgar (30) was finally out tickling down the leg side giving India some breathing space going into the fourth and probably the final day of the series. Keegan Petersen is going strong on 48*.
With 111 runs left, the match is expected to end early on Friday either way but at this moment Proteas look way ahead.
With eight batters failing to reach even double figures, no excuses would be enough for India when they analyse the below-par show along with the new team management's decision to carry over-the-hill out-of-form seniors, which only compounded problems. It's up to the bowlers now.
This was the first Test match in 145-year-history where all 20 batters of one team were caught.
It was in the 21st over that R. Ashwin flighted one that straightened enough after pitching as Elgar was beaten trying to play a forward defensive stroke. Umpire Marais Erasmus gave it LBW but Elgar went for DRS, which ruled that the ball would miss the stumps.
Funnily enough, Elgar, after seeing that he was beaten, had started walking before he came back. An angry Kohli kicked the ground in disgust and then used the stump microphone to good effect.
For some time, the bowlers lost focus but got Elgar at the end of the day.