Murali Vijay (left) and Cheteshwar Pujara (right) added 63 runs for the second wicket © AFP
Murali Vijay (left) and Cheteshwar Pujara (right) added 63 runs for the second wicket © AFP

India were struggling at 82 for three at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa, at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali on Thursday. Murali Vijay did well to reach 40 not out off 80 balls, and accompanying him was No. 5 batsman Ajinkya Rahane as India lost couple of wickets in quick succession in form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. For South Africa, Vernon Philander, debutant Kagiso Rabada and part-timer Dean Elgar claimed wickets as Imran Tahir was not used in the first session. It was India who won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a track meant to support spinners, with the hosts picking three of them for this clash. South Africa handed debut to Kagiso Rabada after Morne Morkel failed to clear fitness Test. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs South Africa 015, 1st Test, Day 1 at Mohali here

India were jolted early on when Shikhar Dhawan failed to read the bounce of a delivery from Vernon Philander properly, and ended up edging the ball to the first slip. The ball was angled away from Dhawan, who nudged at it and the ball took an edge and landed safely into the hands of South African captain Hashim Amla. Dhawan has been going through a lean patch and this outing worsened his case. Live Cricket Blog & Updates India vs South Africa 2015, 1st Test at Mohali, Day 1

Dhawan’s wicket brought Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease, who was away with a four straight down the ground on the final ball of the second over. Pujara showed positive intent right from the beginning, and struck a few boundaries to revive India’s innings. The right-handed batsman, who was favoured ahead of Rohit Sharma, batted well till he missed out a straight one from part-timer Dean Elgar in the fourth delivery of the 22nd over. It was surprising to see a batsman failing to read a straight delivery after doing all the hard work.

India were soon tottering at 65 for 3 when a leading edge was grabbed sharply by Elgar in the next over, standing at extra cover. South Africa had just called in the debutant Kagiso Rabada for his second spell, and Kohli, who looked to flick one on the leg side, ended up getting a leading edge. The Indian captain, who turned 27 on Thursday, was shattered after the catch was taken as he knew there wasn’t much batting left after his side lost their third wicket without any significant score on the board.

Pujara and Vijay added 63 runs for the second wicket, and their partnership was perhaps the only bright spot for India in the first session. Dhawan played a poor stroke, Pujara failed to read a straight one and Kohli had a mishit. For South Africa, there wasn’t any bowler who made a mark, but Elgar’s involvement in two out of three dismissals in the first session put him in the spotlight.

Brief scores:

India 82 for 3 (Murali Vijay 40*, Cheteshwar Pujara 31; Dean Elgar 1 for 3, Vernon Philander 1 for 17, Kagiso Rabada 1 for 20) vs South Africa

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