India were 4-0 at lunch after bowling the Proteas out for 335 on day two at Centurion.
India, so accurate and energetic during the closing stages of day one, let themselves badly during the initial stages of two. Three dropped catches allowed South Africa, and Faf du Plessis in particular, to make a significant addition to their overnight total.
The Proteas were under pressure during the first hour of play. Keshav Maharaj played and missed on several occasions before edging a Mohammed Sami-delivery to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. That dismissal marked Sami’s 100th Test wicket.
The hosts added just 24 runs to their total in those 60 minutes. At that stage, a total of 330-plus was a long way off.
Kagiso Rabada battled from the outset against the off-spin of Ravi Ashwin. The left-handed batsman was put down in the slip cordon, and again at point off the very next ball. Hardik Pandya made a meal of what should have been a simple catch.
Du Plessis proceeded to farm the strike, and play with more attacking intent. Rabada provided good support at the other end. Together they put on a crucial partnership of 42 runs off 70 balls.
Du Plessis offered up a chance shortly after reaching his 50. Ashwin found the edge of the Proteas captain’s bat, but Patel failed to take what should have been a regulation catch.
Rabada perished 30 minutes before lunch when he hooked Ishant Sharma into the deep. This time, Pandya raced in off the boundary and completed a good catch.
Du Plessis was eventually undone by a straight Sharma delivery. The tail-enders battled on, but Aswhin had the final say – and claimed his fourth wicket – when Murali Vijay caught Morne Morkel in the outfield.
The India openers were forced to face an over before the lunch break. Du Plessis surprised by giving the spinner Maharaj the new ball.
Vijay smashed the very first ball of the innings for four, and India survived to the break without loss.
The Proteas were 182-2 at tea on day one. They were in a commanding position at that stage, and looked to be on course for a total of 400. In that sense, they will be disappointed with the way things have panned out.
On the other hand, they did well to rebound from 269-6 to 335 all out early on day two. The onus is now on the four seamers and Maharaj to put early pressure on India.
SA 335 (1st innings) – Aiden Markram 94, Hashim Amla 82, Ravi Ashwin 4-113, Ishant Sharma 3-46
India 4-0 (1st innings) – Murali Vijay 4 not out
India trail by 331 runs
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
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