Hardik Pandya slammed his 2nd Test century © AFP
Hardik Pandya slammed his 2nd Test century © AFP

Hardik Pandya missed his second Test hundred by 7 runs but did well to revive India’s fortunes against South Africa in the ongoing Cape Town Test. He played one of the finest knocks produced by an Indian in hostile South African conditions. Pandya walked in to bat with India reeling at 76 for 5, in reply to South Africa’s first innings score of 286. The South African pacers had their tails up and were breathing fire when the Indian all-rounder decided to counterattack.

India soon were reduced to 92 for 7 in the second session of Day Two when Wriddhiman Saha was trapped leg before by Dale Steyn. Pandya survived strokes of luck on 15 and 71. He was dropped by Dean Elgar off Steyn and later Quinton de Kock missed a stumping off Keshav Maharaj. Pandya also survived a review. He was adjudged caught behind but in reality it struck his thigh pad.

Pandya’s 93 came off 95 ball and consisted 14 fours and a six. His raced to fifty in just 46 balls. He even managed to get runs of bouncers by tapping the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head to the ropes. He did it twice but perished trying to do the same to Kagiso Rabada.

Pandya’s 93 came against one of the finest bowling attacks in recent times that comprises of Steyn, Vernon Philander, Rabada, Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj.

Live Cricket Score, India vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2 at Cape Town: Pandya removes SA openers
Live Cricket Score, India vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2 at Cape Town: Pandya removes SA openers

Often comparisons are drawn between Pandya and Kapil Dev, who is arguably India’s greatest cricketer. Pandya brought the memories of 1992-93 tour when Kapil played one of his finest Test knocks in the final Test at Port Elizabeth. Coming into bat at 27 for 5, Kapil stroked 129. This was India’s first ever tour of South Africa.

India are 201 for 9. The recovery was marked by a 99-run ninth wicket partnership between Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The other Indian batsmen to score hundreds on their first innings in South Africa were Pravin Amre and Virender Sehwag. In their case, it was also their Test debut.