Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

Late wickets haul India back to even keel

Late wickets haul India back to even keel

Former swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag on Saturday stated that Virat Kohli "should drop himself" if he fails in the second Test against South Africa, launching a scathing attack on the India skipper for his team selection.

India made three changes - Lokesh Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan; Ishant Sharma into the seam attack for Bhuvneshwar Kumar; and Parthiv Patel in for Wriddhiman Saha (hamstring) as wicketkeeper. Two more wickets fell in the next 14 balls. Captain Faf Du Plessis came on to bat and left the field only after the umpire called for stumps. However the 42 runs he shared for the eight wicket with Du Plessis, may yet prove crucial in this match. His drives through mid-on and mid-off regions against the fuller deliveries were a joy to watch while he was equally punishing against the shorter-deliveries.

Coming into the match 1-0 up, South Africa chose to bat first and made an excellent start to their innings as Dean Elgar and Markram amassed an 85-run partnership, during which Markram brought up his fifty, before Elgar was caught by Murali Vijay off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for 31. Even if it is a flattish deck, one has to apply himself and Markram looked at home from the word go. He had his man straight after lunch as Elgar tried to hit his way out of trouble only to stab a cleverly-flighted delivery to backward point. With Amla set by then and AB de Villiers walking out, there was still no respite for the Indians, and a tea-time score of 182 for 2 in 56 overs spoke of how dominant South Africa had been. Sharma bagged three wickets in the first innings, while Ashwin was the lead wicket taker of the match and clinched 4 wickets. The first culprit was Virat Kohli, who missed a low chance to his right at slip, and then Hardik Pandya at cover missed the next chance, a much easier one, with the ball looping off the outside edge. The hosts made one change, handing a Test debut to 21- year-old pace Lungi Ngidi at his home ground.

Hashim Amla had been out of knick recently with single digit scores in his last three Test innings.

Markram and Amla though, continued unruffled, and looked nearly immovable when Ashwin struck again, getting a snick off Markram that Parthiv held on to well to end the second-wicket stand at 63 runs.

Patel's return to the Test side did not go as planned.

"Those wickets in the last session are valid incentive for us going into the Day 2". Had it not been for the couple of run outs in the third session - Amla and Vernon Philander - the hosts would have taken the bragging honours at the end of the opening day.

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