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South Africa struggling on day 3

PUNE, India (AP) – South Africa lost three wickets in the morning session to be struggling in its first innings at 135-6 – still 465 runs behind India – at lunch on day three of the second cricket test here on Saturday.

Resuming on 36-3, the visitors were reduced to 53-5 at one stage before staging a mini comeback.

Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock put on 75 runs for the sixth wicket to save the Proteas from deeper embarrassment.

The slide began in the third over of the morning when nightwatchman Anrich Nortje was caught at fourth slip for 3 off Mohammed Shami (2-28).

Three overs later Theunis de Bruyn played a loose shot off Umesh Yadav (3-27) and was caught behind for 30.

India used a spin-pace combination for much of the morning session, astutely exploiting the conditions on offer.

South African cricketer Faf du Plessis bats during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

South African cricketer Faf du Plessis bats during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Du Plessis stemmed the decline and he had de Kock for company as the duo put on 50 off 79 balls, the Proteas’ skipper raising his 22nd test half-century off 64 balls and helping push the score past 100 in the 35th over.

Shortly before lunch, however, Ravichandran Ashwin removed de Kock for 31 to seal the breakthrough. A ripping off-break left the left-hander stunned, an attempted glance off his hips instead ending with him being bowled.

At lunch, du Plessis was unbeaten on 52 with Senuran Muthusamy on 6.

Virat Kohli’s seventh double hundred – 254 not out – helped India declare at 601-5 in its first innings, after Mayank Agarwal (108) scored his second test hundred on day one.

India leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first test in Visakhapatnam by 203 runs.

South African cricketer Faf du Plessis bats during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Theunis de Bruyn during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s Theunis de Bruyn during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

South African cricketer Faf du Plessis bats during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

South African cricketer Faf du Plessis bats during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

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