Published: Mon, January 15, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

India fight back with late wickets By

India fight back with late wickets By

India's own fightback - aided by running between the wickets hara-kiri - meant the home side ended the day on 269 for 6 and the game was left in the balance.

South Africa were their own worst enemies in those final 41 minutes of the day. Markram finished top scorer with 94 (150 balls, 15 fours) and the two batsmen contributed 29 of the 40 boundaries that the Proteas hit on the day.

Kohli had in fact employed all five of his bowlers within the first 20 overs so desperate was he to find a way into the South African batting order - again featuring six front-line batsmen.

Du Plessis was at the centre of the next run-out, too, except this time he was the one not interested in a single.

After Keshav Maharaj (18) was out when he edged Mohammed Shami to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, the 100th wicket in test cricket for the seamer, India contrived to drop three catches in two balls.

No damage was done in the wickets column at lunch, but the fact that Ravi Ashwin got a couple to turn in the first session, might have raised the level of irritation for the South African skipper.

Given that they were 246/3 on day one, that total was disappointing. You got to put this behind and try and comeback stronger in the next Test. Preparation is important and India have lost a bit there and faced not much of criticism.

Ashwin moved round the wicket to force a faint edge of the 23-year-old's bat for an easy catch for Parthiv, bringing an end to a 67-run stand.

"Look at Cheteshwar Pujara".

Ishant also revealed his game-plan during the course of the first innings and said that he just wanted to stick to bowling at a good line and length and he knew he would be rewarded for it.

The ball is now squarely in Faf du Plessis' court to get the Proteas lower order through the hard second new ball period and to give them a chance of posting a competitive total.

Instead, Kohli and Vijay set about recovering the Indian innings and at tea they had gotten through unscathed with the scoreboard reading 80/2.

But the Indian team management are not being fair to Dhawan by dropping him after his failures in the first Test while continuing to ignore the candidature of Ajinkya Rahane while picking Rohit Sharma because of his good form in recent times which has come in the Indian sub-continent.

Sharma's role in the limited overs set-up has never been questioned, but there are doubts over his ability to adapt to foreign conditions on the Test stage.

It didn't help, and India were 132/4.

With the first ball of his fifth over, Ngidi thought he had Kohli trapped LBW. The batsman hesitated at Faf du Plessis's call before setting off and the bowler in a flash swooped down to pick the red cherry up and then throw down the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Centurion held its breath, and the initial replays suggested that Kohli was stone dead. The run rate had come down only for Bumrah to bowl a leg-side half-volley and another short-and-wide delivery in his first over back.

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