South Africa pacers wrecked havoc of India's top order    AFP
South Africa pacers wrecked havoc of India’s top order AFP

Electing to bat on a seam-friendly but relatively flat track, South Africa were reduced to 12 for 3. They went on to reach taken 286 from there. To be fair, however, India would have loved to restrict the opposition below 300 after being asked to bowl. By end of Day One, however, India conceded the momentum: they are now reeling at 28 for 3. India trail South Africa by 258 runs, and have to revamp in the morning session on Saturday.

Resuming the final session at 230 for 7, India bowlers looked to dismantle South Africa’s tail. Nonetheless, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada negated any threat posed by India pacers, and stretched the innings close to 300. Maharaj was the first wicket to fall in the evening session. He was looking set to frustrate the Indian camp but ran himself out for 35. Maharaj’s lazy effort, trying to get back to the strikers’ end, led to his fall for 35. Ravichandran Ashwin’s direct hit did the trick.

South Africa continued to add vital runs courtesy Rabada and Dale Steyn. Rabada became Ashwin’s first Test wicket on South African soil. Rabada slashed hard but edged to Wriddhiman Saha. Morne Morkel was the last wicket, trapped leg-before for 2. This left India to play an hour against South Africa’s fiery pace battery, never an easy proposition.

In reply, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay got off the mark soon. Dhawan looked more confident of the two, with adequate footwork and couple of nice punches towards covers.

Philander removed Vijay for 1. Vijay played it hard on a ball slightly wide outside off. Dhawan, somewhat against the run of play, threw his wicket away. He was done by Steyn’s extra pace. He miscued a pull and gave a simple return catch to Steyn, who is playing his first Test since November 2016.

Virat Kohli was the last wicket of the day. Morne Morkel deceived him with his first ball with extra pace and bounce. A confident and fired up South African attack will keep Cheteshwar Pujara and co. on their toes on Day Two.

Brief scores

South Africa 286 (AB de Villiers 65, Faf du Plessis 62, Quinton de Kock 43, Keshav Maharaj 35; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 for 87, Ravichandran Ashwin 2 for 21) lead India 28 for 3 (Shikhar Dhawan 14, Virat Kohli 5; Vernon Philander 1 for 13, Dale Steyn 1 for 13, Morne Morkel 1 for 0) by 258 runs.