Johannesburg – A resilient innings of 84 not out from Virat Kohli wrested the advantage from South Africa, as India reached 164/4 at tea on day one of the first Test at the Wanderers on Wednesday.
The Proteas took two wickets in the session, with the first coming in rather fortuitous fashion.
Just when the pair of Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara (25) had put on a partnership of 89 off 167 balls and were looking to take the game from the hosts, disaster struck for India.
A mix-up in the middle between Kohli and Pujara resulted in a run out. Kohli, facing Imran Tahir, attempted a quick single on the onside, with the bowler fielding and throwing the ball to Hashim Amla who did the rest to leave Pujara stranded.
The wicket brought Rohit Sharma (14) to the middle with the visitors on 113/3.
Sharma and Kohli put on 38 runs for the fourth wicket, before the Proteas struck an over before tea.
He edged a Vernon Philander delivery to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers with the score on 151/4. Before lunch, the visitors fell to 24/2 in the 16th over, but Kohli and Pujara started the recovery.
Dale Steyn and Philander opened the bowling for South Africa, and with a plethora of bouncers they starved their opponents of runs as India hobbled along at under two runs per over for most of the first session.
Steyn won the first battle of the aggressors against Shikhar Dhawan who was out for 13. Dhawan, after two unsuccessful pull shots earlier in the over, was out pulling Steyn off the final delivery of the ninth over.
With a fast bouncer, Steyn found the top edge of the bat and Imran Tahir, running in from fine leg, took the catch well inside the boundary.
Murali Vijay (6) followed next after he was outsmarted by Morne Morkel, who came on as first change. Morkel peppered the Indian opener with short deliveries and was rewarded for his efforts.
Attempting a drive, Vijay edged a full ball outside off through to De Villiers, leaving India on 24/2 in the 16th over.
Morkel returned miserly figures of one for six in his six overs, which included four maidens.
The match is the first of the two-Test series, after the Proteas beat the tourists 2-0 in the three-match One Day Internationals series earlier in the month. One of the ODIs was rained out. – Sapa