South Africa 162 (Hamza 62, Yadav 3-40, Jadeja 2-19) & 132/ 8 (De Bruyn 30, Shami 3-10, Yadav 2-35)
South Africa trail by 203 runs
Sixteen wickets lost in a day. That’s South Africa’s sorry tale with India on the brink of a 3-0 whitewash.
Everyone will come back on Tuesday for just two wickets with India, after having asked South Africa to follow-on, still ahead by 203 runs.
To compound matters for the visitors, the deficit has been inflicted the most unlikely of sources. South Africa would have arrived in India expecting a trial by spin.
They have floundered in the face of that challenge with Ravichandran Ashwin still top of the wicket-takers chart and Ravindra Jadeja also being an irrepressible force with that lethal arm ball of his.
But they would not have expected to have their techniques utterly exposed by India’s seamers, who have pushed them back with imposing bouncers before following it up with deliveries that cannon into the stumps.
Collectively Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have already claimed 10 wickets in the match, and it would only be fitting if Shami (3-10) bagged the remaining two to finish with a much-deserved five wicket haul.
“I don’t think we under-prepared to face the seamers,” South Africa’s rookie batsman Zubayr Hamza said. “All credit to them. We haven’t been good enough in our defensive work against them. With the new ball, they forced us to play at more balls.
“They didn’t allow us to leave many balls. By asking to play at the majority of the balls, given the fact they have plenty of skill, we needed to be on top of our game to keep them out and we were not."
Although Hamza also succumbed to a Shami beauty in the second innings for a duck, the young Capetonian looked the most assured of the Proteas batsmen first time out.
He played with authority, both off the front and back foot, against pace and spin, and thoroughly deserved his maiden Test half-century. Unfortunately for the Proteas it was a lone effort, with only all-rounder George Linde and Theunis de Bruyn, who is a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, showing any further gumption with the bat.
“It has been a tough day. Very disappointing for the team. To almost have been bowled out twice in about a day is pretty poor from our side. We have struggled to build partnerships, especially when there has been pressure on from their bowlers, which has been pretty relentless.
“From a personal point of view, I am disappointed to not go on to make use of the opportunity after getting to my Test first half-century. We have struggled with our defences, and they have bowled pretty attacking lines, and we haven’t been good enough to keep those balls out.”