New Delhi: Hosts South Africa lost three quick wickets towards the end of opening day’s play in the second Test match against India. Courtesy these three wickets India crawled back to share the honours in what otherwise looked like South Africa’s day. At close of play, the home side were 269/6 with Faf du Plessis and Keshav Maharaj unbeaten on 24 and 10 respectively.
Out of the three wickets to fell, two were run-out. While Ravi Ashwin accounted for Quinton de Kock (0). Hashim Amla (82) and Vernon Philander (0) were victims of poor running between the wickets.
After Ishant Sharma removed AB de Villiers (20), South Africa lost their way. Earlier, off-spinner R Ashwin struck twice after the first session. Opener Aiden Markram (94), playing on his home ground, missed a well-deserved century by a whisker after he was caught behind off Ashwin. Overall, he faced 150 balls and hit 15 fours.
Resuming at 78-0, Markram and Dean Elgar (31) took their opening stand to 85 runs before Ashwin got the first breakthrough for India early in the session. The shot from Elgar hit Murali Vijay in the mid-riff and lodged there, with the fielder acting quickly enough to catch it.
India then attacked Amla with short stuff and also tried to lure him outside the off-stump. Jasprit Bumrah was unimpressive in this spell, unable to find the right line to attack the batsmen. Mohammed Shami was haywire too, and India had to recall Ishant Sharma and Ashwin back into the attack.
Markram’s wicket came against the run of play. He asked for DRS review and was a tad unlucky as the edge was doubtful. But there wasn’t sufficient evidence to overturn the on-field umpire’s decision. South Africa crossed the 100-mark in the 36th over, and their 150 came up in the 47th over. Amla got a reprieve at 30 when he was dropped by Parthiv Patel off Ishant in the 51st over, the ball going down leg side after the batsman edged it.
Mohammed Shami had a mild headache and he went back to the dressing room for some treatment, before returning to the field.
Earlier, South Africa had reached 78-0 at lunch making first use of an easy day one pitch. Elgar and Markram had started watchfully against the new-ball pairing of Bumrah and Shami, the latter conceding 23 runs off his four overs.
The new ball bowlers failed to create any chances, and Ishant came on as first-change in the 8th over. He immediately troubled Elgar and continued to do so throughout his first spell.
Hardik Pandya (0-20) came on to bowl in the 13th over. By the 20th over, when Ashwin was introduced into the attack, India had used up all their frontline bowlers in just over an hour’s play.
Ashwin too probed Elgar, and in the 24th over, had a caught-behind appeal turned down. India opted for DRS review but there was no edge. The Proteas had crossed 50 in the 21st over. Meanwhile, Markram reached his second Test half-century off 81 balls, just before the break.
This was after South Africa won the toss and opted to bat. The hosts made one change, handing a Test debut to 21- year-old pace Lungi Ngidi at his home ground. He came in the side in place of injured Dale Steyn.
India made three changes to their eleven, with KL Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out due to a strain and he was replaced with Parthiv Patel.
(With PTI inputs)