Wretched first session as Proteas head for defeat in second Test
South Africa is heading for a massive defeat after reaching lunch on 74/4 on day four of the second Test after being asked to follow-on by India on Sunday.
It was a wretched first session for the tourists, with batsmen succumbing to their own mental demons, for there were none in the pitch. In fact in stark contrast to 2015, when South Africa were destroyed on spinning tracks, in this match, they’ve folded on a pitch which has been more like a South African one, than an Indian one.
They’ve been out-batted, out-bowled, out-fielded, out-fought and out-thought.
Virat Kohli’s decision to enforce the follow-on with a lead of 326 runs, may on the surface look to be an obvious one, but he’d have had to weigh up the workload on his own bowlers, who bowled over 100 overs to dismiss South Africa in the touring side’s first innings.
Clearly though his bowlers felt up to the task, and they would also have factored into their equations, that the Proteas, have looked a broken team since the afternoon session on day 2.
Aiden Markam, was first out, to his second ball, again adjudged lbw, this time to Ishant Sharma. However had Markram referred the decision to the TV umpire in time, he would have had a reprieve as replays indicated the ball was going to miss the leg stump. Markram has faced four balls in this Test, and the batsman that lit up the series against Australia in South Africa last year, is not the same player who walks out to bat in the sub-continent, he is barely a shadow of that player.
Theunis de Bruyn survived a missed run out and was then dropped off the next ball, as South Africa’s mental frailties were exposed. Meanwhile Dean Elgar, who’d batted with such purpose and skill in the first innings of the first Test, was throwing his bat at all sorts of deliveries, and was very fortunate that one of the outside edges didn’t fly to an Indian fielder.
De Bruyn, got an edge to a delivery from Umesh Yadav down the leg-side, giving Wriddhiman Saha the opportunity to dive to his left and with one hand he took a stunning grab. De Bruyn made eight and while he will count himself unlucky to have been dismissed in that fashion, there must still be some serious questions asked about his status as a Test batsman.
Faf du Plessis promoted himself to no.4 ahead of Temba Bavuma, a move many outside the team have been calling for, and then produced a very strange innings of blocking and leaving and not attempting to put any pressure on the opposition bowlers. As a result, he allowed the Indians to bowl at him and that was always going to lead to his downfall. That eventually came when Ravichandaran Ashwin spun one that caught the inside edge, brushed the pad, was then juggled by Saha, who ended up diving forward to complete the catch. Du Plessis, faced 54 balls for his five.
Elgar, having seemingly settled down after his wild start, then charged at Ashwin, slogging the ball to long-off 10 minutes before lunch. It was a case of very poor judgement, but also another illustration of this Proteas team being mentally shot. Elgar scored 48.
Bavuma and Quinton de Kock will resume after lunch with South Africa still trailing India by 252 runs.