Cape Town - It was a tough day at the office for the Proteas on Saturday as they were steamrolled for just 214 when the second Test against India got underway in Bangalore.
Hashim Amla then watched on as his depleted bowling attack got through 22 overs without taking a wicket.
The Indian opening pair of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan look largely untroubled, and unless the Proteas strike early on Sunday they could see the game too far gone by lunch.
Here are five key talking points from day one:
AB IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN
In his 100th Test match, AB de Villiers put up a fight and got to 85 before perishing. But that his success stands out so boldly is further indication of a larger problem in this Proteas batting line-up. There are guys who are simply struggling for form, and more will be expected of Amla and Faf du Plessis in particular. Stiaan van Zyl also looks to be out of his depth in attempting to cope with the spin at the top of the order, with Ravichandran Ashwin having dismissed him in all three of his knocks in the series so far.
This spin partnership is proving to be the difference between the sides. They have taken a remarkable 24 of the 30 Proteas wickets to have fallen in the series so far - 12 apiece, including four each on Saturday. The conditions in Mohali may have detracted slightly from their performance, but Ashwin and Jadeja were at their best on Saturday and restricted the Proteas, through skill and accuracy, on a wicket where runs were there to be had.
It wouldn't have been an easy week for the brains trust with injuries to Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander complicating matters. But, most interestingly, Simon Harmer lost his place in the side to accommodate the return of JP Duminy in a decision that sees an attack of three seamers and one specialist spinner - a bold move given the way things transpired in Mohali. Whether or not the decision was the right one will become clearer on Sunday, but early signs are that three quicks might be one too many.
TAHIR DROPS A DOLLY
It happens to the best of them, but the timing of Imran Tahir's dropped catch couldn't have been worse. The Proteas were struggling for the breakthrough and then in the 16th over Morne Morkel banged in a short one to Murali Vijay, whose attempted pull shot was lobbed to Tahir at square leg. But the Proteas leg spinner dropped one of the easiest catches you'll see in a moment that accurately summed up a woeful day.
TAHIR NEEDS TO DELIVER
Outside of the dropped catch, Tahir will play a vital role in the attempted comeback on Sunday. In Harmer's absence, he is the sole specialist spinner and has the task of single-handedly answering the Ashwin/Jadeja onslaught. Duminy is the second spinner the attack and as accomplished as he may be, it is perhaps a touch naive to expect him to rip through the Indian batting line-up. Tahir and Duminy bowled just two overs each on Saturday to the 18 delivered by the seamers, but they will see much more action on Sunday.
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