Proteas

Batsmen struggle on wild Wanderers wicket

2018-01-24 17:34
Virat Kohli (Gallo)

Johannesburg – They had to work for their wickets, but the Proteas seamers got the job done at the Wanderers on Wednesday, dismissing India for 187 in their first innings of the third Test.

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v India - 3rd Test, Day 1

South Africa, who have already won the series, trail by 181 runs having finished on 6/1 at stumps on a wicket that had given a clear advantage to the seamers throughout the day.  

Dean Elgar (4*) and night-watchman Kagiso Rabada (0*) are at the crease for South Africa.

Having won the toss, Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat first – a decision that Faf du Plessis was more than happy with.

It didn’t take long to understand why.

Vernon Philander (2/36), playing in his 50th Test, and Kagiso Rabada (3/39) struck early, removing both Indian openers cheaply as the visitors found themselves 13/2.

That brought Kohli (54) and Cheteshwar Pujara (50) together, and that pair offered India their only real resistance.

Kohli was his usual positive self, playing some glorious cover drives as he took the attack to the bowlers in an attempt to get his side back into the Test.

He had his fair share of luck, though, and was dropped twice - first by Philander and then AB de Villiers in the slips.

When second-Test hero Lungi Ngidi (1/22) eventually had Kohli caught behind for 54, India had added 84 for the third wicket and had recovered from the early wobble.

Pujara, meanwhile, demonstrated superb concentration. It took him 54 balls to get off the mark, and when he brought up his half-century he did so off 173 balls and having spent 256 minutes at the crease.

He could not cash in, though, and was out for exactly 50 after edging Andile Phehlukwayo (2/24) through to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.

Ajinkya Rahane (9) and Parthiv Patel (2) were both removed by Morne Morkel (2/47), while Phehlukwayo got his second when he had the dangerous Hardik Pandya (0) caught behind for what was De Kock’s fifth catch of the innings.

Having fought so hard for so long in the form of Pujara and Kohli, India lost three wickets – Pujara, Patel and Pandya – for no runs as they slumped from 144/4 to 144/7.

There just wasn’t enough resilience from an Indian perspective, though the wicket made batting look impossible at times.

The movement that all five Proteas seamers – they had left out spinner Keshav Maharaj for this match – were generating was noticeable from the beginning of the Indian innings to the end.

Runs were just so hard to come by, and in total the Proteas bowled 30 maiden overs in an innings that was brought to an end in the 77th over.

A late cameo from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (30) got India some much-needed runs, but aside from Kohli and Pujara, none of the top order contributed.

While the bowlers were all impressive, South Africa would have been disappointed with their fielding efforts.

Kohli was dropped twice, and then substitute fielder Theunis de Bruyn and Ngidi were also both guilty of letting chances go.

When Rabada finally got rid of Kumar, India would have been itching to get their hands on the ball.

South Africa had to face a tricky period before stumps, and they found the going tough immediately.

Aiden Markram was out for 2, caught behind off Kumar, and South Africa were on the back foot from the get-go.

Rabada and Elgar managed to get through to the end of the day, but batting is no fun in this Test match and the Proteas will know that heading into day two.

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