Ashwin flattens South African challenge as Maharaj hits fifty

Pune, India: South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj battled through pain and held back from hitting out as he resisted India’s drive for a decisive win in the second Test on Saturday.
The tourists were eventually dismissed for 275, 127 runs away from avoiding the follow-on, but Maharaj earned praise for his courageous stand with Vernon Philander that held up India’s march towards a victory that would seal the three match series.
Maharaj, who made 72 with an injured shoulder, and Philander, unbeaten on 44, put on 109 for the ninth wicket to frustrate the Indian bowlers for 43.1 overs in Pune.
“It’s (shoulder) very sore. Yesterday I dived on it so lot of bruising. But hopefully I’ll be fine for the rest of the series,” Maharaj, primarily a left-arm spinner, said.
“Vernon and I said to ourselves that we’ll just get through to tea and see after that. Being a lower order batsman your fingers do itch to play a big shot but Vernon kept me in a good mind space.
“After a few pulls I felt normal (in the shoulder). It’s better to be positive, because if you go into your shell a ball with your name will come along sooner or later.”
Ravichandran Ashwin broke the stand by taking number 10 Maharaj in the final overs and then claimed last man Kagiso Rabada, for two, to wrap up the innings with figures of 4-69.
India, who scored 601-5 declared, have until the start of play on Sunday to decide whether to enforce the follow-on. South Africa still trail India by 326 runs. — AFP