Cricket-Gritty South Africa stay in the fight versus India

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First Test - South Africa v India
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PRETORIA (Reuters) -South Africa captain Dean Elgar scored an unbeaten 52 against India as the hosts showed a dogged determination to stay in the fight on a spicy wicket and closed the fourth day on 94 for four in the first test at Centurion Park on Wednesday.

South Africa are still 211 runs off their record victory target at the venue of 305 on a wicket that is treacherous for the batsmen with sideways movement but also variable bounce.

Some deliveries are staying low and others spitting off the surface with exaggerated bounce.

They will need to negotiate the skilful India attack on the final day as the tourists attempt to secure a victory on the way to a hoped for first ever series win in South Africa with tests in Johannesburg and Cape Town to follow.

"The wicket has variable bounce so if we keep bowling the right areas then we're in a good position in the game," India batting coach Vikram Rathour told reporters.

"If we can carry on doing that tomorrow, I think we will create lot of opportunities ... We need to keep hitting those lengths consistently."

South Africa lost Aiden Markram (one), Keegan Petersen (17), nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (eight) and Rassie van der Dussen, who got 11 from 65 balls before being bowled by Jasprit Bumrah (2-22) with a superb in-swinger while not offering a shot.

The highest fourth innings score to win at Centurion Park is 251 for eight by England in 2000, an infamous test where both teams agreed to forfeit an innings after rain to force a result.

"We have to show belief," South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada said. "We will strategise overnight and work out how we want to approach this.

"Dean has done this countless times, where he shows fight when it is toughest. He will know his job is not over, he is leading from the front."

India were earlier bowled out for 174 in their second innings, the South African seamers expertly using the conditions with Rabada (4-42) and 21-year-old left-arm debutant Marco Jansen (4-55) the chief wicket takers.

None of the tourists’ batsmen were able to get settled at the crease with Rishabh Pant (34) the top scorer as he tried to take the attack to the bowlers.

There was more disappointment for India captain Virat Kohli (18) as he chased a wide delivery for the second time in the test and was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Jansen.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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