Run-outs, Ashwin boost India against Proteas

Annette Crawford
January 14, 2018

The hosts were cruising at 246/3 at one point and Hashim Amla looked primed for a 29th Test century. He missed a ton by six runs but had done his job in laying a solid platform for South Africa. Thereafter captain Faf du Plessis (24) and Keshav Maharaj (10) closed out the day without further damage.

India started by serving a shocker to those predicting the playing XI.

Ishant Sharma, recalled along with Parthiv and KL Rahul in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha and Shikhar Dhawan respectively, removed AB de Villiers in a final session which ended with India in the ascendancy after toiling for much of a hot Saturday.

India skipper Virat Kohli has said that this team is happy to fight fire with fire and the lively track on offer at the SuperSport Park in Centurion is no deterrent for his boys and they weren't just mere words and the batsmen backed it with action as they kept facing short pitched deliveries at the nets. The Proteas openers Dean Elgar and Markram frustrated the bowlers throughout. With minimal help off the wicket, Ishant and Bumrah tried their luck without much help as Amla and Aiden Markram took little time to ease into a sturdy partnership.

Calls for the inclusion of Ajinkya Rahane, known for his quiet approach, instead of fellow Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma have grown over the few days.

India was suddenly on top after toiling for 2 1/2 sessions as South Africa threw away wickets at the end of Day 1 of the second test on Saturday.

Just over four years ago, Ashwin endured one of the worst episodes of his career when he went wicketless against South Africa and was dropped for the following Test. You can analyse all the lines and lengths bowled by the bowlers, you can look at the discipline shown by the batsmen, and then one piece of exceptional awareness in the field creates a run-out, there is some panic, and you now have your best chance to win a Test in South Africa.

The day changed dramatically with an outstanding piece of fielding by Hardik Pandya, who ran out Amla for 82.

Pandya made the pick-up off his own bowling, turned and ran Amla out. It hit the stumps, and Amla was miles outside his crease in the replay.

It was an unnecessary dismissal from a South African perspective and it also sparked the late Proteas wobble, because in the very next over Ashwin had Quinton de Kock caught by Virat Kohli for a first ball duck.

Hardik Pandya fielded off his own bowling to run out Amla at the non-striker's end from short leg, before Vernon Philander's ball-watching saw him sent packing - Philander jogging through for an attempted single after failing to see Faf du Plessis bellowing at him to stay put. If he had, he would have seen that Du Plessis was not moving an inch and was asking him to go back.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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