By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 27, 2013
It was Dale Steyn who took control of all the proceedings on Day Two as South Africa stole the advantage from India in the second Test. Rain delayed the start of the day and washed out the whole morning session. India resumed on their position of strength, but Steyn struck at regular intervals during his six-for and ensured India were bundled out for 334.
The whole morning session on Day Two was lost due to rain and a wet outfield and early lunch was taken. However, by 12:40 local time, the sun had come out and the outfield was ready. Resuming on 181 for one, India were in great touch and wanted to extend their domination. But, little did they know that they would run into Steyn.
Steyn troubled Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay as a few edges flew through the slips. He kept varying his length and kept them in check. Vijay had moved to 96 and the ton was in sight. Pujara was looking solid and was weathering the Steyn storm.
Later, Steyn just pitched one in Pujara’s half and had it moving away a little. Pujara was drawn into the shot and the edge went through to the wicket-keeper as South Africa celebrated early success. Kohli walked in to face the music and looked resolute and balanced.
Vijay then faced Steyn on 97 and one climbed on him as it went down the leg side. It took the edge and AB de Villiers took the catch. Steyn celebrated as he was breathing fire and working some serious pace. Out came Rohit Sharma and he needed some runs to get back into his groove. Instead, he let go the first ball he faced and it crashed into the stumps. Suddenly, India were 199 for four.
That is when Ajinkya Rahane joined Kohli and in tandem, they set off on a mission to rescue India. Both batsmen were very cautious early on and saw off Steyn’s fiery spell. As they saw off a few overs, they got into good rhythm. Some of the highlights were the straight drives they essayed off Steyn and also pulled him for boundaries. Those shots would have given them tremendous confidence. Rahane needed it more than Kohli as he was hit on the head once and then on the shoulders.
The duo put up 50 to help India get to a much better position. As Kohli was moving towards his own personal fifty, he flicked one from Morkel down the leg-side and into de Villiers’s gloves.
After tea, Rahane and Mahendra Singh Dhoni essayed a few good strokes to take the initiative. Both hit boundaries at regular intervals as Rahane was moving towards his half-century. Dhoni was cutting anything short and charged to Peterson. The 55-run partnership was going at a good rate before disaster struck.
Steyn was a man possessed. He had Dhoni caught behind by Smith as the Indian captain chase a half-volley outside off-stump. Jadeja fell for nought to Duminy in the next over as Jacques Kallis held his 200th Test catch.
Steyn then got Zaheer Khan as the edge flew to de Villiers and he took a magnificent catch. Stretching in the air, he held it with one hand as it was rising. That was Steyn’s fifth wicket and a good comeback after the Johannesburg game. Ishant Sharma entered the picture and hit a nice drive through the off-side for four before edging another to de Villiers to give Steyn his sixth.
Rahane was left stranded at one end. He did get to his fifty and farmed the strike to keep Mohammed Shami safe. Ultimately Shami was dismissed by Morkel.
The South African openers began positively as they went at a run-a-ball in the first six overs. Ishant did trouble Smith a little with a few that came back into him. Shami too had a few appeals and had Alviro Petersen in a bit of a jiffy a few times.Ravindra Jadeja was turning it into Smith and it hit him once or twice. Petersen charged to Jadeja and lofted him for four to take the initiative, but there was turn for Jadeja.
It was largely smooth sailing for South Africa as they finished Day One on 82 for no loss.
India 334 (Murali Vijay 97, Cheteshwar Pujara 70, Virat Kohli 46, Ajinya Rahane 51*; Dale Steyn 6 for 100, Morne Morkel 3 for 50) lead South Africa 82 for no loss (Graeme Smith 35*, Alviro Petersen 46*) by 252 runs.
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