Johannesburg Test | Cricket

India vs South Africa, 2nd Test | South Africa pacemen call the shots on day one

Rookie SA seamer Marco Jansen finished with 4 for 31

Rookie SA seamer Marco Jansen finished with 4 for 31

There were patches of grass on the surface and the ball zipped around. On view was pace, bounce and movement.

Welcome to the Wanderers. The pacemen called the shots at the Bullring and the batsmen struggled to cope.

India was dismissed for 202 and South Africa lost opener Aiden Markram, playing across and being trapped leg-before by a Mohammed Shami delivery that nipped back.

At stumps on day one of the second Freedom Test on Monday, the host was 35 for one.

The Proteas could have been two down but ’keeper Rishabh Pant put down a tough catch after Keegan Petersen slashed at Jasprit Bumrah. In a blow to India, in-form seamer Mohammed Siraj appeared to have pulled his hamstring in his run-up and had to leave the field.

For India, captain K.L. Rahul made a 133-ball 50 of typical patience and quality and Ashwin rattled up a 46-ball 50, pulling his weight as an all-rounder.

South Africa’s impressive beanpole left-arm seamer Marco Jansen scalped four, while there were three wickets each for the nippy comeback man Duanne Olivier and the fast Kagiso Rabada.

In low-scoring scraps, runs from the lower-order can often swing games and the aggressive Ashwin timed the ball sweetly in a vital knock. He on-drove and cover-drove Ngidi with footwork and balance, flicked Rabada, and lofted to the right of Olivier before departing attempting to slash Jansen.

And some lusty blows by the newly promoted vice-captain, Bumrah, took India beyond 200. Rahul won the toss, elected to bat and put on another exhibition of playing, ‘leaving’ and being in the ‘zone’ — his mental switch for Test cricket has been striking — before stroking elegantly.

Between periods of defence, he stroked beautifully. A back-foot punch through cover off Rabada was all class.

However, Rahul’s patient vigil ended after he miscued a pull from outside off when Jansen pitched short; Jansen’s lifters were coming at varying heights. In the morning, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal negotiated the crucial first hour.

In an attacking move, South Africa brought in Olivier for pace bowling all-rounder Wiaan Mulder and straightaway the Protea bowling looked more threatening.

Mayank (26) cover-drove and off-drove Olivier with timing and poise. Jansen, however, ended Mayank’s innings, angling the ball across and finding the edge even as the batter attempted a drive without footwork.

Twin strikes

Cheteshwar Pujara was prised out by Olivier with a lifter; Pujara defended from a static position when he should have gone right back.

Ajinkya Rahane perished to the next delivery, playing away from his body and edging an Olivier away-swinger. India needs runs from both these senior batters. Rahane’s was Olivier’s 50th Test wicket in only his 11th Test. Olivier has a whippy action and can surprise you with his pace off the track.

India, 49 for three, could have been in further trouble had Temba Bavuma not put down a tough chance at point when Hanuma Vihari (2) slashed hard at Lungi Ngidi.

Vihari settled down to make an impression. There is a solidity about him on these pitches. Strong off his back-foot, he cut Olivier. He fell to a brilliant leaping catch at short-leg by Rassie van der Dussen after the batter fended a rather vicious lifter from Rabada. India lost wickets at regular intervals. The most significant one being that of Pant. Jansen, shifting angles cleverly, got one to straighten at Pant who inside-edged to the ’keeper.

It’s all happening at the Bullring!

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 1:26:49 pm |