Shardul Thakur takes seven wickets as India wrestle back control

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  • Shardul Thakur
    Shardul Thakur
    Indian cricketer

Shardul Thakur took seven wickets as India wrestled back control on day two of the second Test with South Africa on Tuesday to take a 58-run lead.

South Africa, trailing 1-0 in the series, started the day on 35-1 and added a further 53 runs before captain Dean Elgar was dismissed by Thakur for 28.

Keegan Petersen looked to steady the ship by top-scoring for the hosts with 62 off 118 balls, but Thakur soon ended his resistance and Rassie van der Dussen (1) was the India all-rounder's next victim.

Temba Bavuma posted 51 from 60 deliveries and Kyle Verreynne went for 21, as did Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, as India limited their opponents to a 27-run first-innings lead in their search for a first-ever series win in South Africa.

Thakur's figures of 7-61 are the best by an Indian bowler against the Proteas, surpassing the previous high of 7-66 set by Ravichandran Ashwin in 2015.

"Whenever I'm given an opportunity to play for India I am always up for it, especially in Test cricket," Thakur said. "These are my best figures but my best is still to come."

The tourists, without regular captain Virat Kohli because of injury, had K.L Rahul (eight) contentiously dismissed early on in their response and fellow opener Mayank Agarwal (23) did not last much longer before being trapped lbw.

But Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten 35 and 11 runs from Ajinkya Rahane, who also survived the rest of the session unscathed, ensured India will start day three on 85-2.

Sensational Shardul

If India hold their nerve and claim a first series win in South Africa, they will undoubtedly have Thakur to thank after this inspired display.

Only Lance Klusener (eight wickets) and Dale Steyn (7-51) boast better bowling figures in Test matches between these nations.

History in sight for India

All of Thakur's hard work was nearly for little as India lost stand-in skipper Rahul and Agarwal, with the latter having hit five fours in his 23 before carelessly failing to offer a shot to a Duanne Olivier delivery.

The tourists will now hope for a strong stand from Pujara and Rahane if they are to put some distance between themselves and South Africa in pursuit of a third successive away Test victory outside of Asia, something they have never previously managed.

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