South Africa's Duanne Olivier (L) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane during the first day of the second Test. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP
South Africa's Duanne Olivier (L) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane during the first day of the second Test. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Double strike from Duanne Olivier rocks India before lunch

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Jan 3, 2022

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Stuart Hess at Imperial Wanderers

Johannesburg - A double strike from Duanne Olivier 10 minutes before lunch, saw South Africa earn the spoils in the first session of the second Test on Monday.

Playing his first Test in three years Olivier, now sporting blonde highlights, claimed the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane with consecutive deliveries as India, after a solid first hour slumped to 53/3 at the break.

Stand-in skipper KL Rahul on 19 and Hanuma Vihari, who replaced the injured captain Virat Kohli will resume after lunch on 4. Kohli withdrew from the match with what the BCCI said was an “upper back spasm.”

Rahul had won the toss and chose to bat on a surface that from a distance had a good grass covering, and as was the case at Centurion, was slow initially. That will change as the sun bakes on it, but for the first hour of play, it allowed the Indian openers, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal to play with relative ease.

Both Kagiso Rabada and Olivier, who opened the bowling struggled to find the right lengths and although there were some half chances - including one referral to the television official when a delivery from Olivier brushed Rahul’s bicep - India weren’t put under too much pressure.

That started to change when Lungi Ngidi replaced Olivier at the Corlett Drive End and immediately found the right length - somewhere just short of full an almost one-day length - which had the Indians questioning whether to go forward or back.

That information was shared with the rest of the bowlers at the mid-morning drinks break, and there was immediate impact after that break when Marco Jansen, retained ahead of Wiaan Mulder for this match to allow Olivier to start, found the outside edge of Agarwal’s bat to give Kyle Verreynne his first catch as a Test wicketkeeper. Agarwal had made 26 off 37 balls and struck five fours and his wicket brought a change in the momentum.

Suddenly the runs dried up, the ball started beating the bat more often and the hosts were able to build pressure.

Olivier’s second spell, was a whole lot better than his first. He had Pujara in trouble with an inside edge that saw the ball fly close to Rassie van der Dussen at a deep short leg position. A few overs later, he got one to bounce off a reasonable length, finding the top edge of Pujara’s bat with the ball looping to Temba Bavuma at point.

Pujara made 3 and he was followed immediately by Ajinkya Rahane, who played loosely at the next ball which he edged to Keegan Petersen at third slip, to give Olivier, who last played a Test against Sri Lanka in Gqeberha in 2019, his 50th Test wicket in his 11th match.

The 29 year old took up a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire, which because of Cricket SA’s protocols, prohibited him from playing for the Proteas. With Kolpak falling away following Brexit, Olivier qualifies as an international player for Yorkshire and is eligible to return to the Proteas.

He busted down the door to selection by taking 28 wickets at 11.10 for the Lions in the domestic Four-Day series this season.

@shockerhess

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