South Africa were dismissed for 335 fourteen minutes before lunch on the second day of the second Sunfoil Test against India here on Sunday morning.
The home team had resumed on 269/6 with the lower order seeking to atone after a disastrous last 40 minutes on Saturday had seen the Proteas lose three wickets for five runs in just 13 balls.
Captain Faf du Plessis on 24 and Keshav Maharaj on 10 took up the challenge and added 13 runs in just over 40 minutes before Maharaj was attracted to one that moved away from him off the surface, and edged through to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. It was bowler Mohammed Shami’s 100th Test wicket, making him just sixth Indian pace bowler to achieve that landmark, though it must be noted that his strike rate was better than anyone else, who’s done so for that country.
There followed a sloppy period of cricket from India, who would surely have hoped to restrict South Africa to less than 300, as they twice dropped Kagiso Rabada, both times off the bowling of Ravi Ashwin, off consecutive balls in the 104th over. The first culprit was Virat Kohli, who missed a low chance to his right at slip, and then Hardik Pandya at cover missed the next chance, a much easier one, with the ball looping off the outside edge. Pandya appeared to be distracted by the presence of KL Rahul and his frustration came out when he jumped up and down like a kid who’d been denied an ice-cream.
The South African batsmen took a bit of momentum out of those two misses, with Du Plessis turning up the aggression as the hosts surged past 300. With the average first innings score at this ground being 334, the Proteas would have taken anything in that region, as some thing could bowl at.
Du Plessis went to his 17th Test half-century and was undone by a wonderful in-swinger by Ishant Sharma, that ripped out his middle stump. He made 63 in just over three and half hours facing 142 balls and hitting nine fours.
Earlier Rabada had pulled Sharma to square leg where Pandya held onto a good catch, with South Africa’s fast bowler making 10. However the 42 runs he shared for the eight wicket with Du Plessis, may yet prove crucial in this match.
Debutant Lungi Ngidi’s first contribution in this match was to face four balls, but he managed to get off the mark nudging Ashwin to long on for a single, following which Morne Morkel was out slogging to long-off.
Ashwin and Sharma were the two outstanding bowlers for the Indians; with the off-spinner picking up 4/113 in 38.5 overs, while Sharma, who replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar, claimed 3/46 in 22 overs.
India faced one over before lunch – somewhat surprisingly bowled by Maharaj – from which Murali Vijay scored four runs.