Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Run-outs, Ashwin boost India against Proteas

Run-outs, Ashwin boost India against Proteas

Aiden Markram made 94 and South Africa cashed in after winning the toss to progress to 182-2 against India at tea on the first day of the second test on Saturday.

Credit has to go to Hardik Pandya for changing direction in his follow-through, fielding a ball nearly at square leg, turning around and going for and achieving a direct hit at the end that the batsman - Hashim Amla, slower of the two at that time - didn't expect action.

"Your confidence isn't dented after one Test match... if your confidence goes away after one match you don't deserve to play".

India vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Day 1 in Centurion, latest updates: Maharaj ducks to short balls off the first two deliveries of the final over of Day 1, with the first one being called a no-ball. If India's team management managed to confound with new selection shenanigans, their lead bowlers took the expected route of profligacy. Recently, the Delhi-pacer was left out of India's playing XI for the opening Test at the Newlands in Cape Town. No matter how much you salivate over the comeback made - in extremely favourable bowling conditions - to bowl South Africa out for 130 in the second innings, it was Mohammed Shami's leg-side offerings and Jasprit Bumrah's half-volleys that let South Africa score the extra 70 runs in the first innings, which proved to be the difference in the two sides. A surprise omission, though, was that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Rahul, on the other hand, has till now played 21 Tests, scoring 1428 runs at an average of 44.62 with four hundreds and 10 half-centuries. Their batsmen can have no excuse here other than scoreboard pressure. India last played a test in the venus way back in 2010-11 series and they were hammered by an innings and 25 runs on that occasion.

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It is one Bumrah appreciates. And the most important thing is that we don't give up after being put under pressure. In the first hour of the Test, India were reduced to asking Pandya to hide the ball well outside off, which he did as ordered.

With the current squad that still leaves him with as many as four players vying for the place vacated by the injured Dale Steyn. He can bowl the whole day and he doesn't get exhausted. He hit 15 boundaries in all before getting a thin edge behind to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel off Ashwin as a test century on the ground where he grew up watching cricket beckoned.

KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Pujara batted in adjacent nets, followed by Kohli and Rohit, and then Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha, pointing to another five-batsmen line-up.

Amla, on his back foot, was slow to start and Pandya raced to pick up the ball, turned and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end.

South Africa had seemed set for a big first innings total when they reached 246 for three but some brilliant fielding and poor decision making combined to rattle their middle order and leave the honours even after the first day.

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