South Africa’s batsmen will need to show some resilience on Friday if they are not avoid a heavy defeat in the first Test. Photo: @BCCI on twitter

CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s chances of survival in this first Test nose-dived dramatically in the final session of the second day in Visakhapatnam.

After being kept in the field for 136 overs after India piled up a mammoth 502/7 declared, it was the turn of the hosts’ lethal spin duo to wreak havoc with the new ball.

Virat Kohli had no hesitation in turning to his ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as early as the third over of South Africa’s innings. The lanky Ashwin required just 13 balls to make an impact, clean bowling Aiden Markram (5) through the gate with a beautiful delivery that drifted through the air and spun off the surface.

Ashwin was only starting to get into his work though. A few overs later, he had Theunis de Bruyn (4) caught behind through a splendid catch by wicket-keeper W. Saha.

With the floodlights already switched on and the close of play fast approaching South Africa opted to send nightwatchman Dane Piedt to the crease. However, Piedt was not equipped for the quality spin bowling he was to encounter and lasted just four balls before being bamboozled by a straight delivery from Ravindra Jadeja to be clean bowled for a duck.

Fortunately for the Proteas they lost no further wickets with Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma surviving to the close of play.

The duo has a mammoth task awaiting them as they firstly look to avoid the follow-on target of 302. They will need to show all the application and patience Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma displayed during their record-breaking 317 run partnership for the first wicket.

Sharma (176, 244 balls, 23x4, 6x6) was the original aggressor, as he was particularly severe on Piedt during his innings, but after he fell to Keshav Maharaj (3/189) his opening partner took centre-stage. Agarwal (215, 317 balls, 23x4, 6x6) played with great fluency throughout and was well rewarded by converting his maiden Test century into a double ton.

Although South Africa made inroads during the afternoon session with Proteas debutant Senuran Muthusamy claiming the big wicket of India captain Virat Kohli for 20 and Vernon Philander also chipping in with Cheteshwar Pujara’s, the platform had been laid for the remaining batsmen to chip away merrily.

To Maharaj’s credit, the left-arm spinner continued to toil and claimed a further two wickets to finish with figures of 3/189 from a marathon 55 overs.

South Africa’s batsmen will need to show similar resilience on Friday if they are not avoid a heavy defeat here in the first Test. 



IOL Sport

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