Ravichandran Ashwin takes three as India peg back South Africa in Centurion Test
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Ravichandran Ashwin takes three as India peg back South Africa in Centurion Test

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets as South Africa reached 269/6 at stumps on Day 1 of the 2nd Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

cricket Updated: Jan 13, 2018 23:13 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Centurion
South Africa vs India,Aiden Markram,Dean Elgar
Ravichandran Ashwin (C) picked three wickets to help India nullify South Africa’s bright start on Day 1 of the 2nd Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion.(AFP)

A misjudged run by Hashim Amla sparked a late collapse as India denied South Africa complete domination of the first day of the second Test here on Saturday. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA 2nd TEST DAY 1 LIVE UPDATES)

At 245/3, South Africa looked set to drive home the advantage on the second day. But Amla’s run out, effected by a superb Hardik Pandya, followed by the dismissals of Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander meant South Africa had lost three wickets for six runs. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA 2nd TEST DAY 1 LIVE SCORECARD)

With skipper Faf du Plessis still at one end, South Africa wouldn’t want to waste Aiden Markram’s 94 and Amla’s crafty 82 after winning the toss in almost perfect batting conditions at the SuperSport Park. South Africa scored 78, 104 and 81 runs in each session as India’s bowling didn’t make an impression, barring Ravichandran Ashwin -- he bowled 31 overs in three spells --- and Ishant Sharma.

Ashwin shines

Ishant didn’t open the bowling though. Probably in search of some early morning seam movement, India skipper Virat Kohli opened with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Shami looked flat, prompting Kohli to ring in the changes and by the 13th over, India had already tried four bowlers. Shami later left the ground due to a mild headache before coming back to bowl an improved spell, but the pacer has not been the spearhead India expected him to be in this series.

Ashwin came in the 20th over and made an impression by exploring different angles. Dean Elgar, hassled earlier by Ishant, tried to advance down the pitch but Ashwin bowled shorter, inducing a drive that Murali Vijay somehow held at silly point, atoning for misjudging a catch at deep square leg in the 21st over.

Markram should have scored his third Test century in just five Tests but for Ashwin’s guile. Bowling around the wicket, he extracted a wafer-thin edge, but with the first two partnerships producing 85 and 63, South Africa looked set to have a good day.

AB plays on

But AB de Villiers dragged Ishant on to the stumps on 20 after a 51-run partnership with Amla. In fact, South Africa should have been four down by then instead of three. But Parthiv Patel -- in for Wriddhiman Saha, who was declared injured -- went like a goalkeeper instead of a wicketkeeper to an edge off Amla down the leg. Then on 30, Amla also added 47 with du Plessis for the fourth wicket.

Patel was among three changes made to the team from the Cape Town Test as Kohli continued to tinker with the combination for the 34th Test in a row. KL Rahul came in for Shikhar Dhawan while Ishant replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar. South Africa made the one forced change, capping local pace sensation Lungi Ngidi for the injured Dale Steyn.

The pitch, more Indian compared to Newlands, leaves the visitors hoping for a better show with the bat. “The new ball isn’t doing a lot actually and the pitch is flattening out and spin is going out of the surface a lot more. I think Day 2 and 3 will be very good batting days,” said Ashwin after stumps. Both sides have gone with one spinner but with South Africa having a clearly superior pace attack, it remains to be seen whether Ashwin can close the gap between the sides.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 13:54 IST