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Saturday, Feb 23rd

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India have retained the ICC Test Championship mace and have also won an award of $1million after their victory in the Johannesburg Test ensured that South Africa cannot move ahead of them in the ICC Test Team Rankings at the 3 April cut-off date, even if they go on to win all four Tests against Australia in March.

India had arrived in South Africa on 124 points, with South Africa 13 points behind on 111 points. However, Virat Kohli’s men will return on 121 points as opposed to South Africa’s 115 points, which will be good enough for them to keep possession of the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace for the second year in succession at the April cut-off.

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Dean Elgar became the first South African to carry his bat through a Test innings twice but it was not enough to stop India winning the final Sunfoil Freedom Test match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium by 63 runs on Saturday.

Elgar had previously made 118 out of a total of 214 for the Standard Bank Proteas against England at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in 2015 and today he finished unbeaten on 86 (240 balls, 9 fours and a six) as his team finished well short of their victory target of 241.

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Virat Kohli inspired an Indian middle and lower-order attack as the visitors were able to set a daunting fourth innings target on day three of the Third Sunfoil Freedom Test Match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

India managed to set the Proteas a victory target of 241 before they were bowled out in their second innings some hour and a quarter before the close of play. The Proteas had reached 17/1 in their response before Dean Elgar was felled by a short-pitched delivery and this plus the rain shower that followed caused the umpires to suspend play for the day some 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled close.

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Shubman Gill produced a sublime innings of 86 as three-time champions India scored an impressive 131 runs victory over Bangladesh to set-up a semi-final clash with arch-rivals Pakistan at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

The number-three batsman’s 94-ball essay, in which he hit nine fours, helped India score a challenging 265 in the last Super League quarter-final in front of broadcast cameras at the John Davies Oval ground in Queensland.

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Hashim Amla has played many bigger and longer innings for the Proteas but for skill, adaptability and by no means least sheer courage his latest effort was right up there with the best.

He finished on 61 off 121 balls with 7 four but, if you consider that the other five specialist batsmen in the South African top order made 27 runs between them, you would have been left wondering where the home side would have been without him.

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The Proteas achieved their first objective of bowling India out cheaply on day one of the 3rd Sunfoil Freedom Test match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium but they well have reached the close reflecting that they could have done even better.

On a day of struggle for the batsmen India were bowled out for 187 in 77 overs to which the Proteas replied with 6 runs for the loss of Aiden Markram’s wicket in a tricky 6 overs before the close.

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Proteas opening batsman, Aiden Markram, has been passed fit for selection for the third Sunfoil Test match against India starting at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday. Markram injured his left quadricep during the 135-run win in the second match at Centurion, and was unable to field during India’s second innings.

The return of the opener brings welcome stability to the top of the order, as the selectors are once again faced with a selection conundrum for the Wanderers green-top. Captain, Faf du Plessis, says they will be keeping their ‘options open’ – including the possibility of an all-pace attack – as the Proteas look to seal a 3-0 series victory.

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