India seek 'intent' to combat South Africa speed kings

Pat Wise
January 13, 2018

So, amid the battle between top-ranked India and No. 2 South Africa in the second test at Centurion on Saturday, there was some personal vindication for Ashwin with his 3-90, something to replace those Wanderers memories. Moments later, Parthiv Patel ran out Vernon Philander.

India made three changes to its lineup for Centurion after falling behind in the series against its closest challenger at the top of the test rankings.

South Africa head coach Otis Gibson has already expressed his desire to stick with a four-pronged pace attack.

"I play (only) Test cricket now and I get a lot of break in between. Exactly what we expected it to be and we actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are into the contest provided they play some good cricket", said Kohli.

In the 24th over, Elgar survived a review from India for a caught behind as the bat had hit the pad but Markram looked extremely confident as he reached his second half-century with two more fours.

There was hardly anything for the fast bowlers at all.

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Amla, who looked set for a century to end a poor run of form which had brought scores of 5, 3 and 4 in his previous three Test innings, played a ball from Pandya to the on-side and was called for a sharp single by South African captain Faf du Plessis. It took an extraordinary 10 minutes in the last hour of play to completely reverse that as India came roaring back.

Ashwin became the only Indian spinner to bowl 31 overs on the first day of a Test outside Asia since 2000.

Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya, alongwith lone spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bundled out the hosts for 130 in the second innings at Newlands.

South Africa v India 2nd Test - Changes expected for India? Before the first Test, no one thought that he should be in the 11 and now suddenly people are looking at the other option", said Kohli."We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things. Their batsmen can have no excuse here other than scoreboard pressure.

It was a stunning end for a day in which India underwhelmed for more than two sessions. 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. As it turned out, it took a sharp catch from Vijay at silly point to end an opening stand of 85 in 29.3 overs. By tea, 76 of the 129 runs scored off the fast bowlers had come on the leg side, in a country where you are well served to attack the batsmen just outside off. It was Ishant and Pandya, who showed more Test-match discipline than India's two strike forces, who kept South Africa's run rate from getting out of hand. Bumrah bowled an ordinary second spell and was taken for runs as Elgar looked more comfortable at the crease. "And then when we walked into the ground yesterday, it was white in colour and the grass was coming off", he said.

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