It was supposed to be a bouncy pitch full of pace. With two Tests to be played, it is still not over but time could be running out.
South Africa reached 182/2 in their first innings at tea on the first day of the second cricket Test against India at the SuperSport Park here on Saturday. About 40 per cent of Test matches in India end in draws while only 7 per cent of those played in South Africa are draws.
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. Hardik Pandya is a shoe-in after his previous showing, and it only leaves Kohli with four spots to play with.
"It was a reality check in terms of not being able to win a Test match for the country on Day 5 when all things were set up for a spinner", said Ashwin, who went wicketless in 36 overs on that day in 2013. Ishant, chosen for his ability to extract more bounce than Bhuvneshwar, was the other Indian bowler among the wickets by virtue of his removing the unsafe de Villiers for 20. Our stadiums are embarrassing compared to the ones in South Africa and Australia and England, though the BCCI is the richest body in cricket.
Markram already has two test centuries and two half-centuries in his first five tests.
Hashim Amla had overcome a hard start to his innings to reach 82. I wasn't really thinking too much and delivering the ball. The Proteas openers Dean Elgar and Markram frustrated the bowlers throughout.
K L Rahul and Ishant Sharma replaced Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, respectively. They were also forced to replace Wriddhiman Saha with Parthiv Patel as the Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman had sustained a hamstring niggle. "The Indian team I played against had their super stars for sure like this team has". Given how South Africa were going at that point, the heat Amla had batted in for most of the day and the illogicality of trying anything silly, it was a mistake that opened the door for India. For the first hour of the third session, it seemed little could go wrong for South Africa, even when de Villiers dragged one on. Rohit was cautious but he looked good in till he got out without notice.
South Africa made just one change in the match bringing in fast bowler Lungi Ngidi in place of Dale Steyn, who suffered a series-ending injury during the Cape Town Test. De Villiers had to leave for 20, and the Indians were jubilant.
On the back foot after fending off a Pandya short ball comfortably, Amla hesitated after captain Faf du Plessis (24*) called him for a single. The hosts' misery was compounded when Vernon Philander was also out without scoring, charging down the wicket for a run as Du Plessis screamed at him from the non-striker's end to stop.
The South African captain held firm though, and Keshav Maharaj showed his batting chops once again to lend some stability to the score.
The Pretoria wicket is likely to be similar, with perhaps not the same sideways movement of Newlands, and will provide another test of the Indian batsmen's bravery against a seam bowling barrage.