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Vernon Philander’s 6/42 hands India 72-run loss in Cape Town, SA lead series 1-0

Vernon Philander picked six wickets as South Africa bowled India out for 135 to seal a 72-run win in the Cape Town Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2018 22:49 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
South Africa vs India,South Africa national cricket team,Indian national cricket team
Vernon Philander (L) tore through the Indian batting line-up as South Africa won by 72 runs in the Newlands Test. (REUTERS)

India’s vaunted batting lineup came a cropper again as South Africa wrested a 72-run win on a day 18 wickets fell, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series at Newlands here on Monday. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA UPDATES)

Just three days of play produced an absorbing result, made possible by quality second-innings bowling from both sides and an insipid batting performance from India. The visitors didn’t manage a fifty, apart from Hardik Pandya’s brave 93, in this Test. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA SCORECARD)

In an afternoon session best suited for batting, wickets tumbled like nine pins as India failed to exploit the advantage handed to them by terrific bowling from Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. After bundling out South Africa for 130, India made a royal mess of a 208-run target to achieve which they had five sessions.

R Ashwin delayed the loss with a fighting 37, but with Vernon Philander making life difficult with a career-best 6/42 at his home ground, defeat was inevitable.

Having arrived on the back of a much-hyped nine consecutive Test series wins, India were expected to walk the talk by getting a hang of the bounce and seaming conditions. But the way performance analyst Prasanna Agoram celebrated the fall of Indian wickets in the South Africa players’ box, every dismissal seemed to have been worked to the last detail.

So, it wasn’t surprising to see opener Shikhar Dhawan again fall to a rising delivery. With Murali Vijay at the other end, he had all the time to dig in on an eased out Newlands pitch, but Morne Morkel’s bait was too tempting to ignore. Vijay judiciously used two reviews to save himself but South Africa were third time lucky when AB de Villiers pulled off a stunning catch at third slip, Philander finally rewarded for his nagging line.

Kohli done in

Virat Kohli arrived with a purpose and India seemed to finally make some headway. However, Philander set up Kohli with an away-swinger before sending down one that moved in considerably, trapping the India skipper leg before. A review only confirmed it was plumb.

This was after Cheteshwar Pujara’s bat took a faint nick off another rising Morkel delivery to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. Kohli’s dismissal should have brought in Hardik Pandya, India’s highest scorer in the first innings. Instead, Wriddiman Saha came out, adding to the surprises the team management has been dishing out since Day 1 morning.

Saha’s record haul

Neither Saha -- who had finished with a record 10 Test dismissals -- nor Pandya could stay put after Rohit Sharma had dragged a Philander’s delivery on to his stumps. Pandya was done in by another AB catch at gully before Saha was adjudged leg before. In the matter of a few overs, shoddy batting had nullified a superlative bowling effort rarely witnessed in Indian cricket.

Making the first hour count after the third day’s play had been washed out and the pitch had remained under covers for more than a day, India bowled three maidens in 11 overs, conceded 27 runs and took four wickets to set up a thrilling day. Shami and Bumrah bowled improved lengths to end with three wickets each. De Villiers though ground out a 50-ball 35 with even a limping Steyn coming out to lend support after being ruled out of the series due to a heel injury.

With the ball though, South Africa showed they were good enough for India even without Steyn.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 16:40 IST