Jasprit Bumrah’s maiden five-wicket haul puts India in control vs South Africa
India bowlers continued their stellar show as Jasprit Bumrah restricted South Africa’s lead to only seven with his maiden five-wicket haul, keeping the visitors in the contest after an engaging second day’s play in the third and final Test at Johannesburg.
A seven-run first-innings lead is probably the best indicator of the wafer-thin difference between India and South Africa on a seaming, bouncy Wanderers pitch. Taking a cue from Cheteshwar Pujara, Hashim Amla junked class for survival techniques and helped South Africa stay alive with cameos from Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. But this Test could be too close for comfort after Murali Vijay and KL Rahul -- who came in after Parthiv Patel --- took India 42 runs ahead of South Africa. (INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA 3rd TEST DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS)
Like India, South Africa too had three batsmen reach double figures n the first innings. The most orthodox batsman, like Pujara, never got in despite spending 121 deliveries. Some shocking shots were played but the batsmen probably have the alibi of saying they didn’t know how the pitch would behave. It was pure joy for genuine seam bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah who would love to carry this pitch everywhere they go. (INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA 3rd TEST DAY 2 SCORES)
Especially Bumrah, who bagged his maiden five-wicket haul and provided the support Bhuvneshwar needed after dismissing Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers. Bumrah’s enterprise also allowed India to mask a somewhat inconsistent bowling that didn’t lure South Africa enough with fuller deliveries in the right channel.
Amla rode his luck and India’s wretched misery with the review system to score 61 but Bumrah dismissed him with a delivery on his leg stump that he didn’t look to keep down. That triggered an implosion that saw South Africa lose their last four wickets for 26 runs.
They however looked like having a measure of the situation when Elgar and nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada almost saw out the first hour. Elgar fell to an unplayable delivery from Bhuvneshwar but Rabada tried his best to play spoilsport. By the time he had spent an hour, Rabada was confident enough to even square drive Mohammed Shami for a boundary. Entertaining as his innings was, it came to an end just seven minutes before lunch when Ajinkya Rahane held on to a sharp edge off Bhuvneshwar’s bowling.
South Africa added 23 runs in the first hour of the morning session but 52 in the next, showing the pitch had become easier for batting. Amla though was ready to buy time. It worked in India’s favour as 62 runs were scored in the post-lunch session even though India would rue the way two reviews against Amla didn’t work out. This was before Amla reviewed a leg-before decision in his favour.
Somewhere during this, Amla also got bumped on his chest by an Ishant Sharma snorter. He however remained solid with his technique, getting behind the line of deliveries by moving across his stumps and standing at least a foot away from the crease, just like Kohli had done in Centurion. But India did well to dismiss the rest of the middle order cheaply.
They looked like missing out on a review against AB de Villiers first over after lunch but Bhuvneshwar set him up quickly with a few away moving deliveries before breaching his defence with a delivery that nipped in massively. Faf du Plessis’s attempts of repeating Centurion’s blockathon was nipped in the bud when he shouldered arms to Bumrah’s incoming delivery before Quinton de Kock inside-edged him. That burst of three wickets ensured South Africa won’t go far in the first innings, allowing India the opportunity to play catch-up through Vijay and Rahul.