Proteas crumble under spin barrage

2015-11-06 13:21
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP)

Cape Town - India dominated all three sessions on Day 2 to take charge of the first Test against South Africa in Mohali.

Scorecard: India v SA

The hosts went to stumps on 125 for two in their second innings - an overall lead of 142 runs - with eight wickets in hand in bowler-friendly conditions.

The Proteas had a fairly good first session when they scored 99 runs on the back of a third wicket partnership of 76 between Dean Elgar (37 off 123 balls, 2 fours) and Hashim Amla (43 off 97 balls, 6 fours) which up to that stage was the highest of the match but they also lost three wickets, including the key one of Amla.

The rest of the day was, however, dominated by India who cleaned up the rest of the order in the afternoon session, taking 5/57 and then steamed ahead in the final session following the biggest partnership of the match to date - 86 for the second wicket between Murali Vijay (47 off 105 balls, 6 fours) and Cheteshwar Pujara (so far an unbeaten 63 off 100 balls, 6 fours and a six).

This was in spite of another fine innings from AB de Villiers (63 off 83 balls, 6 fours) who did his best to rally what support he could from the lower-order, none of whom was able to reach double figures.

De Villiers had a let-off on seven when he was caught at slip off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja but earned a reprieve when the delivery was ruled a no ball on review.

It was probably as fine a non-century as De Villiers has ever scored bearing in mind the conditions under which he was batting.

Unsurprisingly, the three Indian spinners took all 10 South African wickets, sending down a total of 54 overs between them. Coincidentally both first innings lasted exactly 68 overs with India taking a tenuous lead of 17 runs.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the destroyer-in-chief, taking his 13th five-wicket haul (5/51 in 24 overs) and reaching his 150th Test match dismissal in the process in only his 29th Test match.

He is the second fastest spinner of all time to this mark, being only behind the legendary Australian leg-spinner, Clarrie Grimmett (28 matches).

When India batted again the South African cause was not helped by the absence of Dale Steyn from the field with an apparent groin strain for the entire duration of the Indian second innings. He may not have got a wicket in the first innings, but he is the bowler whom the Indian batsmen fear the most whether they are playing at home or abroad and it was an important psychological factor.

Probably the most important statistic from a South African point of view is the fact that only three members of the playing XI - Amla, De Villiers and Steyn - have played in a Test match in India before and that likely contributed to Friday’s disappointing batting performance.

Read more on:    india  |  proteas  |  ravichandran ashwin  |  cricket

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