India vs South Africa, 2nd Test

India are up against it in 2nd Test on South Africa’s favourite home ground

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At stumps on day one, South Africa were 269/6, thanks to a seriously classy 94 from Aiden Markram on his own patch and a meticulous 82 from Hashim Amla.

Opener Aiden Markram scored an unbeaten fifty to guide South Africa to 78 for no loss at lunch on the opening day of the second cricket Test against India here today. Parthiv Patel replaced him.

Earlier, Indian made three changes to their playing XI.

It's understandable that some would fall into that trap given South Africa's expectation of bowler-friendly wickets. "Two days from the game it looked like we are going to play an all-seam attack", Ashwin said.

Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Ishant claimed one.

Centurion is also a favourite of Amla who is going through a difficult patch with the bat
Centurion is also a favourite of Amla who is going through a difficult patch with the bat

Ashwin moved round the wicket to force a faint edge of the 23-year-old's bat for an easy catch for Parthiv, bringing an end to a 67-run stand. They ended day one of the second Test against India at the Super Sports Park here on 269 for six with Faf du Plessis (24 batting) and Keshav Maharaj (10 batting) at the crease.

First, in the 81st over, Amla was run-out against the run of play, getting mixed up with du Plessis as he set off for a single but Hardik Pandya (0-37) found the target on the non- striker's end off his bowling. The pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami bowled with venom and, for Indian viewers, it was a treat to watch. Having selected a team based on "current form" for the last Test, India proceeded to drop their best bowler and the man who faced the most balls, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for the second Test.

SuperSport Park was expected to be fast and bouncy and replicate the Cape Town pitch where India's batsmen struggled and the top-ranked test team lost by 72 runs to fall behind in a series against its closest challenger in the test rankings. Their batsmen can have no excuse here other than scoreboard pressure.

India would have been desperate to make further inroads at that stage to get back into the contest, but with Du Plessis and Amla ticking along comfortably, it didn't look likely. What India got was an economy rate of 4.18 from Shami and 3.16 from Bumrah despite a late slowdown. It could have so easily been a game where they could have run away with it after the second session. In the first hour of the Test, India were reduced to asking Pandya to hide the ball well outside off, which he did as ordered. The conditions demanding high discipline, but the Indian pacers failed to put three balls in the good areas on a consistent basis, encouraging the cautious batsmen to open up.

For his dismissal‚ Markram's review was unsuccesful as Ultraedge showed that the ball came off his bat and the decision remained that of the umpire‚ who originally had waved his finger for out. Another positive would be the courageous and bold selection of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who showed his daredevilry and panache, took the attack to the opposition and came out all guns blazing against strong South African attack.

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