A solid bowling display from South Africa, led by Marco Jansen’s 4/31, helped the hosts bowl out India for 202 in 63.1 overs on Day 1 of the second Test at the Wanderers. Apart from Jansen, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier were crucial with identical figures of 3/64.
For India, stand-in skipper KL Rahul made a fighting fifty while Ravichandran Ashwin missed his half-century by four runs in a batting display where the middle-order, minus an injured Virat Kohli, failed to get going.
Just like Centurion, India had won the toss and elected to bat first. But the similarities ended there as India got starts but co’ldn’t stitch a big partnership which meant they had to settle for a modest total.
The start of India’s innings was clearly split into two halves: 36/0 in the first hour and 17/3 in the second hour. Agarwal became more aggressive of the opening duo, driving Olivier for fours through cover and down the ground before giving the same treatment to Rabada.
A cautious Rahul survived a caught-behind appeal as a short ball from Olivier brushed his shoulder. South Africa took the review, thinking of the sound as outer edge, and burned it. Rahul replied with back-to-back fours — an on-drive and an outer edge through third man and gully.
After drinks break, Agarwal fell while trying to drive a full ball from Marco Jansen and edged behind to keeper Kyle Verreynne. Cheteshwar Pujara was troubled by Ngidi, Rabada, and Olivier consistently bowling incoming deliveries, which kept short leg interested thrice. Ngidi bowled two maidens in his four-over spell, keeping the pressure on India.
Rahul continued to find a boundary each off Olivier and Rabada. But saw his partners go down in quick succession in the 24th over as Olivier sent back Pujara and Rahane off back-to-back deliveries.
While Pujara attempted a forward defence, he couldn’t counter the extra bounce from the ball which took the shoulder edge of the bat to Temba Bavuma at gully. On the very next ball, Rahane steered a back-of-length delivery straight to Keegan Petersen at third slip.
Rahul and Hanuma Vihari looked solid in their partnership for the fourth wicket. Vihari was given a life at nine when Bavuma dropped a straightforward catch at point off Ngidi. Rahul and Vihari crunched five boundaries in the next six overs, with the stand-in captain’s drive through cover and latter’s slap over point being the standouts.
But the 42-run stand was brought to an end by Rabada, taking out Vihari at the stroke of drinks break. Rabada’s short ball with extra bounce to Vihari took an inner edge to short-leg, where Rassie van der Dussen dived to his left and put out his left hand to take a stunning catch.
Rahul continued to march forwards with a leaning drive through cover off Olivier and pulling Rabada through fine leg. He then brought up his half-century in 128 balls with a single through square leg. But in the next over, Rahul attempted to pull a short ball from Jansen but the top-edge was caught by Rabada diving in from fine leg.
Ashwin and Rishabh Pant build a stand of 40 runs off 48 balls for the sixth wicket, with the off-spinner being the more aggressive of the two. But Jansen ended the partnership, taking out Pant with a delivery angled towards off-stump and coming in to take the inner edge to Verreynne.
In the next over, Olivier picked his third wicket as Shardul Thakur slapped away from the body straight to Petersen at gully. Ashwin continued to counter-attack, clipping Rabada through mid-wicket with the full face of the bat, and leaned forward to drive Olivier through mid-on.
Mohammed Shami cut Rabada solidly but drove straight back to the bowler, who completed a superb caught and bowled dismissal. Ashwin survived a chance a 44 when Bavuma almost pulled off a screamer at deep cover. But on the very next ball, Ashwin backed away to upper-cut a short ball from Jansen and miscued it completely to Petersen at point.
Jasprit Bumrah brought out the long handle to smash Rabada for 14 runs, including two fours and a six to take India past 200. Rabada then wrapped the Indian innings by strangling Mohammed Siraj down leg.
Brief scores: India 202 all out in 63.1 overs (KL Rahul 50, Ravichandran Ashwin 46; Marco Jansen 4/31, Kagiso Rabada 3/64) against South Africa