Cape Town, Jan 6: An all-round show by Hardik Pandya played a breezy 93-run knock and picked up a couple of wickets in the second innings on the second day of the opening Test here on Saturday (January 6).
At stumps, South Africa were 65/2 after their openers - Dean Elgar (25) and Aiden Markram (34) - were dismissed in quick succession despite getting off to a decent start. Both the batsmen were dismissed by Pandya, who seemed could do nothing wrong in the day.
Hashim Amla (4*) and nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada (2*) were present at the crease when the umpires signalled the end of day's play. The Proteas have extended their lead to 142 and would be aiming to frustrate the visitors on day three.
Earlier, Pandya revived India with a stunning counter-attack before hosts bundled the visitors out for 209 in 73.4 overs in their first innings.
By restricting India to 209, the Proteas took a significant 77-run lead from their first innings. It was valiant 99-run stand between Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (25) that revived India and kept the visitors in the game.
Soon after Bhuvneshwar's dismissal, India lost the remaining two wickets in no time and the visitors' innings were folded.
India found themselves in neck deep trouble soon after lunch session when they lost the wickets of well set Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha in quick succession.
Thanks to Pandya's impressive knock of 93 India manage to claw their way back into this contest with the deficit at 77 ahead of South Africa's 2nd innings. #SAvIND #FreedomSeries #ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/BIW8gsBcQH— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 6, 2018
But Bhuvneshwar and Pandya rescued the visitors from the ignominy of getting restricted to a paltry total. Courtesy their 99-run stand, India crossed the 200-run mark for it seemed a distant dream at one point.
Kagiso Rabada (3/34) and Vernon Philander (3/33) were the pick of bowlers for the hosts.
India resumed their innings from 28/3 with Cheteshwar Pujara (5*) and Rohit Sharma (0*) starting the innings. But the duo couldn't help Indians steer through the troubled waters and were dismissed cheaply.
Pujara (26) was dismissed by Vernon Philander on the very first ball after lunch after the right-hander showed grit and patience. Ashwin followed Pujara soon after as a stunning catch from Quinton de Kock ended his innings for 12 off Philander.
The Saurashtra batsman seemed to have lost his concentration during the break and was lured into playing the ball moving away from him.
Earlier in the first session of the day, Kagiso Rabada ended Rohit Sharma's 59-ball stay at the crease by trapping him in the front with a length ball, seaming from outside off stump and hitting the front foot of the batsman's pad.
Rohit, who could only manage to score 11 before his departure, left his team struggling at 57/4. The batsman even went upstairs to review the umpire's decision after chatting with his partner but he was, perhaps, hoping for a miracle as the ball seemed smashing into the leg stump.
The new man-in Wriddhiman Saha too couldn't make any difference as he was trapped in front by an in-swinging delivery from Steyn and departed without scoring.
Proteas pace battery remained at it's lethal best and troubled the Indian batsmen, except Pandya, they bowled with great intensity and restricted the opposition from taking any lead.
Indians would now look to take early wickets on the third to keep themselves in the game as there is a prediction of rain.