SA vs IND, 1st Test, Day 2, Review: Hardik Pandya keeps India in the game with a stunning all-round performance

SA vs IND, 1st Test, Day 2, Review: Hardik Pandya keeps India in the game with a stunning all-round performance

South Africa finished the day on 65/2 with a lead of 144 runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The second day of the first Test between India and South Africa began with the latter side aiming to rattle the visitors much like they did late on the opening day. The much-awaited series finally got underway at Newlands in Cape Town. India got off to a dream start with Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking the top three. Though the half-centuries from AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis helped the home side post 286. However, it was India who were under the pump y the end of the day and had to make the statement on the second morning.

The overnight pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma walked out to the middle as the fiery quartet of fast bowlers were licking their lips to bundle their opposition out for a paltry. But what followed was a patient game from both the batsmen leaving the deliveries outside the off-stump. Sharma though was lucky to survive a couple of close calls but managed to bide his time out in the middle. The first hour saw only 17 runs scored off 13 overs which prove there were no bad balls from the hosts.

Rabada’s fiery spell gets Rohit

There was no let-off for the batsmen as Kagiso Rabada was introduced into the attack soon after the drinks break who generated pace from the wicket. At one stage he also touched the mark of 149 kph which was a yorker bowled to Rohit. Finally, he pinned him in front through one such pacy delivery and provided his team with a much-needed break-through. He straightaway bowled a barrage of bouncers to R Ashwin who came out to bat next. Though he blunted the attack somehow.

Pujara, on the other hand, kept his cool and looked unfazed with all the action at the other end. He was solid in his defence and was barely troubled. But he was the first to be dismissed in the post-lunch session as he poked at the away going delivery of Philander. Soon R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha followed as India were left reeling at 92/7 facing a huge deficit of 194 runs.

Pandya shows the way

Hardik Pandya was witnessing all the action sitting in the dressing room and decided to attack much like de Villiers did. He played his shots fearlessly and was even dropped on 15 off Steyn by Dean Elgar. He took Bhuvneshwar Kumar by his side and played a brilliant knock. He attacked the fiery quartet of pace bowlers and ripped apart Keshav Maharaj in his first over. He also brought out his special uppercut despite du Plessis had a fly slip for the same shot.

He also brought up his second half-century in Tests as Bhuvi also looked comfortable in the middle after getting off the mark off this 34th delivery. Soon he also drove fruitfully and garnered some quick runs. Both added a crucial and match-saving as well as unbeaten 93 off 116 balls until tea time. But the Proteas came out with a strategy in the final session to keep a lid on the run-scoring. Bhuvi soon fell into the trap as the hero Pandya heartbreakingly missed out on his second ton as he was sent back on 93. India were bowled out for 209, the score much better after being reduced to 92/7.

Kung-fu Pandya strikes twice with the ball

South Africa started well in their second essay as the opening duo of Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar battled it out in the middle. The former looked in good nick and scored runs at a fast pace much to the frustration of the visitors. But Pandya once again came to the rescue of the team and claimed Markram which inspired the dropping shoulders of the team. Soon he also snuffed out Elgar who was struggling to edge the full-pitched ball to Saha. Though the night-watchman Kagiso Rabada and Hashim Amla saw off the remaining day without any harm as the home side finished the day on 65/2 with a decent lead of 144 runs.

The first session of the third day is going to be extremely important now which might well decide the outcome of the game. If the hosts bat out tomorrow, it will be very hard for India to come back in the game. But they will hope that the other bowlers would put their hands up and support Pandya.

Brief Scores

SouthAfrica 286 (de Villiers 65, du Plessis 62; B Kumar 4/87, R Ashwin 2/21) & 65/2 (A Markram 34; H Pandya 2/17)

India 209 (H Pandya 93; V Philander 3/33, D Steyn 2/51)