April 23, 2018

India hit back after Markram and Amla half-centuries

14 January 2018, 01:39 | Joan Schultz

India vs South Africa: Smart changes can script a win for Virat Kohli at Centurion

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There was more drama to follow, as a nervy Vernon Philander fended away a bouncer and ran to the other end without looking at his partner. Amla had to go for 82, and then Quinton de Kock was out first delivery to Ashwin, edging him to slip to continue his wretched run against pesky offspinners.

Bounce apart, there wasn't a whole lot of help for the seam bowlers, and perhaps this was why India went in with Ishant ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who picked up 4 for 87 and 2 for 33 in Cape Town.

After slumping to a moral-sapping defeat in the opening Test, India will look to bounce back when they take on South Africa in the penultimate second Test of the three-match series here at the SuperSport Park on 13 January.

South Africa reached Lunch on 78 without loss, led by Markram's 81-ball fifty, but after the interval Elgar (31) was unsettled by Ashwin.

Recently when du Plessis was asked whether Virat Kohli was on a par with AB de Villiers or better in the longest format of the game, he said with a wink: "Anyone who gets judged on being the best in the world, whether it is a bowler, batsman or team, I feel should get judged all around the world". It's the second time in a short career, but I'm just going to keep saying it's part of the game and try to be positive.

Home captain Faf du Plessis is not out on 24 and will resume his innings on Sunday with Keshav Maharaj (10) on a slow wicket that is expected to quicken over the next few days.

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At the break, Markram was batting on 51 not out, while Dean Elgar was unbeaten on 26 runs as the duo made good use of an easy-paced pitch here after skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat. Ashwin, from round the wicket, greeted him with a quick-turning offbreak in the channel outside off stump.

The Uttar Pradesh bowler appeared to have been dropped in favour of the lanky Ishant on account of the latter being able to extract more bounce off the SuperSport Park pitch.

"Even if we were ended the day two down, I still would have been disappointed". That said, they have held back the call on Rahane and Ashwin for the morning. "I think day two and three will be a very good batting day". Parthiv Patel replaced him.

Markram already has two test centuries and two half-centuries in his first five tests. "It was a nothing shot and I've still not got over it just yet".

In 38 Tests since being dropped, Ashwin has taken 205 wickets at an average of 23.82, proving himself one of the best spinners in the history of the game.

Dean Elgar (31) was Ashwin's other victim, while impressive seamer Ishant Sharma (1-32) induced an edge from the risky AB de Villiers (20) onto his own wicket. For the first 80.4 overs of the day, South Africa's batsmen had pitched tents on this flat, friendly surface and pinned family photographs onto the canvas.

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