Proteas in deep trouble against India
Day two of the second Test in Pune was a painful one for the Proteas – mentally, physically and spiritually.
They look a broken team and the scoreboard at the MCA Stadium indicates that. India declared their innings on 601/5, their captain Virat Kohli recording his highest Test score, 254 not out. South Africa were 36/3 at stumps, with both openers out, trailing India by 565 runs.
There weren’t many positives to draw from a South African perspective. They bowled well in patches, but missed two important windows of opportunity with both new balls. In those periods - on the first morning Thursday and the first session on Friday - the ball was flying passed the outside edge and batting looked challenging. South Africa took just one wicket across those periods. In 15 overs before stumps on Friday, the Indians showed them exactly how to make the new ball work.
It was emphatically Kohli’s day. The Indian captain’s innings was out of the very top drawer. Patient when he needed to be against the dangerous new ball, precise against a fiery post-lunch spell from Kagiso Rabada and then free-flowing as the Proteas withered in the afternoon heat.
The drives were classics and he pulled the short ball with frightening authority. It wasn’t until he reached 208 that Kohli gave South Africa a proper opportunity to dismiss him and even as Faf du Plessis took a fine catch at slip, the opportunity was spurned as Senuran Muthusamy was shown to have bowled a no-ball. In fact he bowled five no-balls in all and it’s a bad habit that the all-rounder really needs to erase from his game.
Kohli ended not out on 254 (336b, 33x4, 2x6), his seventh double hundred, making him the leading Test double hundred maker for India. Remarkably all of those innings’ have come in the last three years.
Ajinkye Rahane - who claimed after play that the pitch was really a 450 to 500-run wicket and not a 600 run one - scored 59, while Ravi Jadeja made a flamboyant 91, sharing a partnership 225 with Kohli.
Rabada was the best of South Africa’s bowlers picking up 3/93 in 30 overs, but an illustration of his and the team’s frustration came after lunch when he and Quinton de Kock had to be separated and told to calm down by skipper Du Plessis after the pair exchanged heated words over Rabada throwing the ball at the wicketkeeper.
Keshav Maharaj, became the 17th South African bowler to claim 100 Test wickets with the dismissal of Rahane, but had to leave the field later after injurying his shoulder while fielding off his own bowling. He is set to undergo scans.
When it came their turn to bowl, India needed just eight balls to pick up the first Proteas wicket - Aiden Markram, trapped lbw by the returning Umesh Yadav. Dean Elgar then had a moment of indecision against the same bowler, when he failed to withdraw his bat in time and was bowled off the inside edge.
Temba Bavuma pushed at a ball he should have left along from Mohammed Shami and was dismissed for 8.
Theunis de Bruyn on 20 and nightwatchman Anrich Nortje, making his debut, will resume on Saturday on 2.@shockerhess