IND v SA [W] 2024, IND-W vs SA-W Only Test Match Report, June 28 – July 01, 2024 – Viral News

South Africa 232 for 2 (Luus 109, Wolvaardt 93*, Harmanpreet 1-24) and 266 (Kapp 74, Luus 65, Rana 8-77) trail India 603 for 6 dec by 105 runs

For the second consecutive day, South Africa’s batters showed great grit to stay in the game after being put on the back foot by the India bowlers in the one-off women’s Test in Chennai. If Sune Luus and Marizanne Kapp fought hard on the second day after India declared at 603 for 6, Luus was at it again on Sunday, in the company of Laura Wolvaardt this time, which helped South Africa cut down the deficit to 105 runs after they were bowled out for 266 in the first innings.

At stumps on the third day, South Africa were 232 for 2 in their second innings, with Luus scoring her first Test hundred and Wolvaardt remaining unbeaten on 93. South Africa will hope for more of the same on the fourth and final day to push the game to a draw.

It was an eventful opening session for India on a hazy morning where Sneh Rana’s sensational bowling on a pitch offering more turn fetched her five wickets – to go with three from Saturday – to give her figures of 8 for 77. South Africa lost six wickets for 30 runs after starting the day on 236 for 4.

Rana got the first breakthrough in her third over, the fifth of the day, when she dismissed a well-set Kapp for 74 with an almost unplayable delivery. Kapp was done in by the extra bounce as the ball, after pitching on off and middle, popped up to beat her outside edge and take the top of off stump. This triggered a collapse as three balls later, Rana removed Sinalo Jafta, who inside-edged one to Shubha Satheesh at short leg.

Three overs later, Deepti Sharma picked up her second wicket. This time the ball stayed low when debutant Annerie Dercksen missed with her prod and was hit on her back pad. South Africa took the review but it was in vain. In the following over, Rana took her sixth when Nadine de Klerk perished whipping towards square leg where Rajeshwari Gayakwad dived in front to complete the catch. No. 7 and No. 8 came soon after as Rana finished off the innings.

India enforced the follow-on with South Africa 337 runs behind. They then lost Anneke Bosch early to low bounce when she was trapped in front by Deepti in the first over. But Wolvaardt nailed her cover drives and looked assured in her approach.

At lunch, South Africa were 29 for 1. India struggled from that point, going wicketless for close to 66 overs across the second and third sessions.

In this period, Luus and Wolvaardt shared a mammoth 190-run partnership for the second wicket to provide South Africa hope of a draw. It was South Africa’s highest partnership for any wicket in women’s Tests.

South Africa came out in the afternoon session determined to play the long game and they succeeded, scoring 95 runs in 34 overs to take tea at 124 for 1. Luus, who made 65 off 164 balls in the first innings, carried forward that form and temperament, moving to 64 off 121 balls at the end of the second session.

Having been trapped lbw to one that kept low from Rana in the first innings, Wolvaardt used the depth of the crease more in the second dig. She pulled short deliveries through square leg and drove the fuller ones to long-on.

India toiled hard to break the stand with Harmanpreet Kaur trying as many as seven bowlers, including herself. But they weren’t disciplined with their lengths and speeds. Perhaps not being used to such a long time in the middle affected them. Deepti also dropped two catches – Kapp benefitting both times – in the last two overs of the day. The first was at slip off a Rana delivery that Kapp edged, and the second was a straightforward return catch.

Wolvaardt and Luus, though, reaped the rewards of patience on a pitch that got slower after the first session.

Consuming more than 200 balls meant Luus and Wolvaardt also had gotten used to the low bounce, with only the odd delivery popping up in the last two sessions of the day. Luus spent 234 minutes at the crease, hitting 18 fours. When she reached her half-century, Luus brought out the rocking-baby-cradle celebration, a gesture for the team’s strength and conditioning coach Zane Webster, who is an expectant father. She scored her maiden century in the final session, and became only the second South African to score a hundred in India in women’s Tests.

The huge stand was finally broken by Harmanpreet when she cleaned up Luus in the 74th over. The low bounce came to her aid as Luus went back to pull but missed.

With Kapp at the other end, Wolvaardt marched on to finish unbeaten. That has raised hopes of a South African lead on the last day, a scenario that looked near-impossible at the start of Sunday.

For India, Jemimah Rodrigues was off the field for a majority of the last two sessions because of cramps.

Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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