Cheteshwar Pujara says South Africa pace battery is one of the best he's faced

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Pujara believes the Proteas pace quartet is one of the best he has ever faced.

India’ premier Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara believes the current South Africa pace-bowling attack is one of the best he has ever faced in his career.

The right-handed batsman was dismissed for 26 runs in the visitors’ first innings in the opening Test between the two sides at Newlands in Cape Town.

Pujara fell to Vernon Philander on the second day as India were bowled out for 209 in reply to South Africa’s first innings total of 286.

With Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel making up the rest of the Proteas pace-attack, Pujara said what everyone was thinking by calling it one of the best he has come across.

“This is one of the best bowling attacks I’ve faced. You know that is their strength and you need to know how to counter-attack,” he said on Saturday.

Pujara thinks India are capable of chasing down 350 in the final innings.

Pujara thinks India are capable of chasing down 350 in the final innings.

The hosts were batting on 65-2 at the end of the third day’s play, an overall lead of 142 and the Indian batsman believes his side can chase down 350 if it came down to it in their final innings.

“Overall, I think we played well today and we are very much in the game. We got two wickets today and if we bowl well tomorrow, and if we are chasing somewhere around 350, I think, we are very much in the game,” Pujara stated.

With the hosts evidently on the front foot after the opening two days, Pujara and team India were handed some respite on Sunday as heavy rain and a wet outfield delayed the start of the third day at Newlands.

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Ashes: Marsh brothers' tons leave Cooked England lurching to defeat

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Nathan Lyon was spinning Australia toward an emphatic victory in the final Ashes Test as beleaguered England unravelled on a torrid day in Sydney on Sunday.

The Australians amassed a massive 303-run innings lead in blistering heat and then reduced the battle-weary tourists to 93 for four at the close with a day to play.

Compounding England’s woes was a finger injury for skipper Joe Root, his team’s last major hope of staving off a 4-0 series rout on Monday’s final day of the Test.

Root was unbeaten on 42 at the close with Jonny Bairstow not out 17.

Australia called a halt to their epic first innings at 649 for seven, and soon had England in trouble after the tourists had been cooked in the field for more than two draining days.

Mark Stoneman was leg before wicket to Mitchell Starc for a duck and lost a review in the process, and next ball Alastair Cook was put down at first slip by Shaun Marsh off Josh Hazlewood for five.

But Cook’s reprieve did not last long and he was bowled for 10 when a sharp Lyon turner hit the top of off-stump in the off-spinner’s first over.

Cook, who became during his innings only the sixth batsman to score 12,000 Test runs, finished the series with 376 runs at 47.

James Vince survived a caught behind off Lyon on review on 15, but three runs later edged Pat Cummins to Steve Smith at slip.

TON-UP BROTHERS

Dawid Malan followed when Lyon trapped him leg before wicket for five.

Shaun and Mitchell Marsh earlier became the third set of brothers to score centuries in the same innings for Australia.

The Marsh boys joined Greg and Ian Chappell and Steve and Mark Waugh to score brotherly centuries for Australia, while it was the eighth time overall it had happened in Test cricket.

The Chappells were the first Australian brothers to notch centuries in the same innings at The Oval in 1972 with the Waughs the last to do it against England, also at The Oval, in 2001.

Mitchell Marsh almost spoiled his century in all the excitement as he embraced his brother mid-pitch before he had completed the second run scrambling back to his crease to avoid being run out.

Mitchell Marsh was bowled next ball by Tom Curran for 101 off 141 balls with 15 fours and two sixes. The century came after his 181 in the third Test in Perth.

He was the third centurion of the massive Australian first innings total, following Usman Khawaja’s 171 on Saturday.

Shaun Marsh was eventually dismissed after lunch, run out for 156 by Stoneman’s direct throw from the covers.

He batted for 403 minutes and faced 291 balls for his second century of the series and his sixth in 28 Tests.
Starc slogged Moeen Ali for six and was out the next ball finding Vince at long on for 11.

Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (24) were at the crease when Steve Smith called them in about an hour before tea.

Big-hearted paceman James Anderson bowled with great economy in the stifling conditions as temperatures hit 42°Celsius, taking one for 56 off 34 overs.

Spinners Ali and debutant Mason Crane conceded a combined 363 runs in taking three wickets between them.

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South Africa star Dale Steyn likely to miss India Test series due to heel injury

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South African fast bowler Dale Steyn is likely to miss the rest of the Test series against India after what was described as a “freakish” injury on the second day of the first Test at Newlands on Saturday.

It was yet another injury setback for Steyn, who was playing his first match in more than a year after suffering a fractured shoulder in Australia in November 2016.

Team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee said what he described as a “freakish” injury was unrelated to bowling workload or being match ready after his long lay-off.

“He was in his delivery stride and landed awkwardly in the foot holes,” said Moosajee. “This caused a significant strain to the foot, leading to tissue damage on the underside of the foot.”

Moosajee said the type of issue usually needed a recovery period of four to six weeks, which would rule him out of the rest of the match as well as the two remaining Test matches.

Steyn had taken two wickets for 51 runs in the first innings, taking his career total of Test wickets to 419, two short of Shaun Pollock’s all-time South African record.

Steyn, 34, has played in only six of South Africa’s most recent 27 Test matches. He has broken down in four of them.

He suffered a groin injury in the first Test of a series in India in November 2016, then had a shoulder injury against England in December that year.

He played in two Tests against New Zealand in August 2016 before his more serious shoulder injury in Australia.

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