Thakur rocks South Africa before classy ton by de Villiers
Mumbai: Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur pushed South Africa to the backfoot before the classy AB de Villiers rallied the tourists with a typically aggressive century on the second and last day of the practice game against Board President's XI which ended in a draw here today.
The visitors, replying to Board XI's modest first innings tally of 296 and commencing the day at the overnight 46 for 2, were reeling at 57 for 5 following a double strike by Thakur before recovering through two partnerships -- both involving de Villiers (112) -- to aggregate 302 for a token lead of 6.
When play was called off, the hosts were 92 for no loss in their second innings with India's first Test squad members K L Rahul, who made 72 in the first essay, unbeaten on 43 and captain Cheteshwar Pujara, on 49.
All the runs were scored off spin bowlers as the fast bowlers did not bowl at all.
Thakur, who had packed off opener Stiaan van Zyl and night watchman Simon Harmer in a short burst last evening, continued to trouble the visitors this morning by dismissing two of their top batsmen -- Faf du Plussis (4) and rival Test captain Hashim Amla (1) -- to leave them gasping at 57 for 4.
And when pacer Nathu Singh finally found some rhythm after another wayward beginning to induce an edge from left-handed opener Dean Elgar (23).
The tourists were on the mat before de Villiers, who slammed 18 hits to the fence during his 131-ball knock, and Temba Bavuma (15) put on 54 runs in 72 balls to steady the rocking innings.
Later, de Villiers -- scorer of three tons in the best-of-five ODI rubber as captain -- combined forces with wicketkeeper Dane Vilas, who made an enterprising 58 in 108 minutes, to carry his team past the 200 mark with a partnership of 115 in 139 balls.
The stand was broken by off-spinner Jayant Yadav, brought on pretty late in the innings by home team captain Cheteshwar Pujara, bowled the SA wicketkeeper round his legs as he went to sweep the bowler.
De Villiers departed at the stroke of tea. He was bowled by Jayant while trying to push a ball, to provide the off-spinner with his second wicket after a stay of 208 minutes at the crease.