Kagiso Rabada celebrates getting the wicket of Mayank Agarwal. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

India: 71/3 (Rohit 38*, Rahane 11*, Rabada 2/15, Nortje 1/28)

A new-look Proteas team produced their most dominant display yet with the ball on the first morning of the third Test in Ranchi to reduce India to 71/3 on Saturday.

South Africa made five changes to the side that lost by an innings in Pune last week. Two were enforced through injury with Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram having returned home already. Dane Piedt and Zubayr Hamza were recalled respectively.

Pace bowler Lungi Ngidi also replaced Vernon Philander.

There were, however, two debuts handed out to wicket-keeper/batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who comes in for Theunis de Bruyn, while Cape Cobras all-rounder George Linde walked straight into the XI replacing Senuran Muthusamy.

All the changes had no impact on the toss, though, even after Faf du Plessis sent out Temba Bavuma to the toss after his wretched luck. The vice-captain also lost the toss.

Only this time they were met by a rejuvenated Kagiso Rabada. Having shown signs in the first innings in Pune that was approaching his best form, South Africa's talisman really hit his straps this morning.

He ran in with controlled aggression and hit a good length consistently that had the prolific Mayank Agarwal (10) pushing away from his body to be caught by Dean Elgar at third slip early on before trapping Cheteshwar Pujara on the crease for a duck.

Rabada could have had Rohit Sharma too after umpire Richard Illingworth adjuged him LBW, but Sharma sent the decision upstairs and the television replays indicated that the opener had got an inside edge on to his pad.

Crucially for South Africa, and unlike in the previous Tests, Rabada was backed up from the other end. Ngidi was his miserly self, while Anrich Nortje was much better this week after a disappointing debut in Pune last week.

Nortje was rewarded for his greater consistency with the big scalp of India captain Virat Kohli (12). On this occasion the DRS worked in favour of the Proteas with umpire Nigel Llong's LBW decision being upheld by the slightest of margins.

Kohli was visibly distressed by the outcome but was forced to make his way back to the pavilion.

South Africa could unfortunately not make any further inroads before the interval with Rohit and Rahane getting through unscathed.

@ZaahierAdams


IOL Sport