CAPE TOWN – Like two heavyweight boxers going toe-to-toe, India and South Africa both delivered some heavy blows in the first two sessions of the first Test at Newlands.
The Proteas eventually went to the tea interval at 230/7.
It was India that landed the first punches when Bhuvneshwar Kumar reduced the hosts to 12/3 before AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis counter-attacked with a 114-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
But just when South Africa looked to be inching ahead at 126 without any further loss, India hit back again.
De Villiers became debutant Jasprit Bumrah’s maiden Test wicket when he managed to slip one through the former’s skipper’s defence. De Villiers departed for 65.
Just three overs later India were back at it. Du Plessis had managed to survive a lbw review by the skin of his teeth when the television replays favoured the umpire’s on-field call.
The bowler, Hardik Pandya, along with his captain Virat Kohli was visibly incensed, though, with the decision going in favour of Du Plessis.
But India were not to be denied for too long. In fact, they had to wait just another two balls before Du Plessis edged Pandya behind for 62. The visitors were certainly elated with the decision with Kohli running up to the departing Du Plessis to celebrate, while Pandya ran off in the direction of the Members Stand.
Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander quietened it all down with a breezy 60-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
However, Bhuvneshwar returned in the afternoon to inflict further damage on the Proteas when he had De Kock caught behind for 43. Bhuvneshwar (4/68) should have his maiden five-wicket haul in South Africa, but unfortunately for the right-arm seamer Shikhar Dhawan dropped Keshav Maharaj shortly afterwards.
Instead, it was Mohammed Shami who claimed the fourth South African wicket to fall in the session when he clean bowled Vernon Philander for 20.
End of the second session and SA get there on 230/7. Maharaj is the senior partner at this stage on 23*, but 4 wickets fell in that session #SAvIND #SunfoilTest #FreedomSeries pic.twitter.com/MVSZeOSotb