2nd Test: SA 269/6 at stumps on Day 1

Lester Mason
January 14, 2018

Sehwag further added that now if Virat Kohli fails then he should drop himself from the third test.

Ravichandran Ashwin appeared to exorcise the ghosts of his previous tour to South Africa with a fine display on Saturday. "A quality all-rounder gets that balance right for the team".

SuperSport Park was expected to be fast and bouncy and replicate the Cape Town pitch where India's batsmen struggled against the home quick bowlers and the top-ranked test team lost by 72 runs to fall behind in a series against its closest challenger in the rankings. The usual suspects went about their job in predictable manner.

India captain Virat Kohli reviewed the not out decision, apparently certain that it was the breakthrough.

Markram had earlier passed ninety for the fourth time in seven innings, having struck 143 and 97 against Bangladesh and then 125 against Zimbabwe in the recent four-day Test.

It is a test of character throughout for all five days. Do we want batsmen who can destroy records in Wankhede and Eden Gardens but cannot last a couple of overs against an average South African attack? The Indian skipper spelled out that this particular selection was based on form.

The other conundrum is regarding bowling attack. He had also inside-edged onto his pad, slashed and missed, driven in the air and gave Hardik Pandya a chance to take a screamer at midwicket, defended so softly that he had to kick the ball away as it rolled towards off stump and tried a few premeditated sweeps that just looked a little ugly. This is where the pitch comes in.

After being criticised previously for not performing outside India, the off-spinner has visibly matured.

One, India are playing South Africa, who are one of the best players of short bowling. It would surely bring in the spinner as the match progresses.

Kohli urged his batsmen not get surprised by the bounce. On Thursday, Umesh Yadav batted and bowled in the nets with vigour.

"He (Ishant Sharma) has played 78 (79) Test matches, to play 78 (79) Test matches for India is awesome".

In comparison to the pensive Indian camp, South Africa seemed at ease as they went about practicing for the second Test. Veteran Steyn injured his left heel midway through the match and has been sidelined for four to six weeks.

Amidst all this noise generated by various talking heads, TOI can confirm that Karnataka opener Lokesh Rahul - who sat in the first Test - will return to the playing eleven at the Centurion for the second Test match starting Saturday.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul and Ishant Sharma have been named to replace Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, respectively. Pandya at mid-wicket was again in the thick of things as he flicked the ball back to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps to whip off the bails.

The other change was wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who was ruled out due to a strain, and Parthiv Patel was included is his place.

Aiden Markram had been dismissed by R Ashwin for 94, AB de Villiers was new to the wicket, which did not have as much pace and bounce that Faf du Plessis wanted and took the turn the captain most definitely did not want, and the leg side was packed.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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