Hashim Amla's run-out changed the complexion of day's play © AFP
Hashim Amla’s run-out changed the complexion of day’s play © AFP

Indian bowlers continued their struggle on a flat Centurion track in the last session of Day One versus South Africa. It was looking like a day dominated by Proteas before late strikes restricted their march. Amla, on the other hand, became the top run-scorer in Centurion, going past all-rounder Jacques Kallis (1,267 runs). South Africa, from 246 for 3, South Africa end day’s play at 269 for 6.

Resuming at 182 for 2, AB de Villiers and Amla commenced proceedings. De Villiers, however, departed soon. Ishant Sharma resorted to cross-seam, and the move paid dividends instantly. The former South African skipper chopped onto the stumps, getting deceived by the pace. Nonetheless, nothing happened from thereon for long.

Faf du Plessis joined Amla at the other end. India bowlers restricted the run flow for a brief period, but couldn’t get any breakthrough. Amla continued to pile runs at a swift rate. He was confident, composed and didn’t falter against the balls pitched outside off stump. Being a compulsive back foot player, Amla was rock steady with his back foot drives, flicks and refrained from poking anything outside off.

Just when things were looking out of India’s control, Hardik Pandya lifted the spirits by a peach of a run-out. Amla departed, in search of a quick single, for 82. Pandya, off his own bowling, was quick to pick the ball and dismantle the non-strikes’ stumps in a flash. This became the turning point.

India didn’t take the new ball for sometime. Ashwin (having bowled maximum overs in the day) removed Quinton de Kock — with a hundred and two fifties in five outings at Centurion — for a golden duck. He edged one to Virat Kohli at first slip. Vernon Philander followed suit. He managed to negate the extra bounce, but ran towards the other end ignoring Faf’s call. Result, he was nowhere to be seen when Pandya ran him out.

Du Plessis stands in way of India. With an unbeaten 24*, the skipper will need the support of Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj to stretch the innings close to 350.

Note: India took the new ball in the 87th over. This means the ball will be relatively new when play resumes tomorrow. A good move from Kohli considering India will be bowling at South Africa’s tail-enders.

Brief scores

South Africa 269 for 6 (Aiden Markram 94, Dean Elgar 31, Hashim Amla 82; Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 90, Ishant Sharma 1 for 32) vs India