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Proteas bowl India out cheaply on testing surface

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The Proteas achieved their first objective of bowling India out cheaply on day one of the 3rd Sunfoil Freedom Test match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium but they well have reached the close reflecting that they could have done even better.

On a day of struggle for the batsmen India were bowled out for 187 in 77 overs to which the Proteas replied with 6 runs for the loss of Aiden Markram’s wicket in a tricky 6 overs before the close.

 

As always, one will only know how good the Indian total is after both sides have completed their first innings but an initial impression is that it is not a good deal short of par. If the Proteas can get anything in the region of 250 one would imagine that they will hold a strong hand.

The Indian total, after Virat Kohli had won the toss, was built around an 84-run partnership for the third wicket between the Indian captain (54 off 106 balls, 9 fours) and Cheteshwar Pujara (50 off 179 balls, 8 fours) followed by some spirited hitting from the lower order of whom Bhuvneshwar Kumar made second top score of 30 (49 balls, 4 fours).

The 10 wickets were shared around the five seamers – Andile Phehlukwayo was brought in as a replacement for spinner Keshav Maharaj in the only change to the Proteas line-up – with Kagiso Rabada having the best return of 3/39 in 19 overs and Lungi Ngidi getting the key wicket of Kohli for the second innings in a row.

Quinton de Kock had a field day behind the stumps with 5 catches to equal the SA record for Tests against India held jointly by Dave Richardson, Mark Boucher (twice) and AB de Villiers.

Where the Proteas will feel they could have done better is that they gave Kohli two lives on 11 and 32 and they can be grateful that it did not cost them more runs against a batsman who nearly always converts half-centuries into three-figure scores.

In addition, they could have had Pujara dismissed without scoring if they had referred to the third umpire an unsuccessful appeal in Ngidi’s opening spell. The replay showed three straight red lights.

Be that as it may the batsmen are all going to need a substantial slice of good luck to survive on this surface. There was one delivery from Rabada that deviated by 50cms which is unheard of.

One cannot imagine the conditions getting any easier for the remainder of the match which is why both sides have gone into this match with five seamers and without a specialist spinner.