Sports

Centurion wicket playing into Indian hands?

Centurion wicket playing into Indian hands?

So when he says India has every chance to make a comeback in the series, you have to believe him.

Ravichandran Ashwin was back among wickets as India clawed their way back into the second Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park, Centurion on Saturday.

South Africa romped to a 72-run victory in the first test of the three-game series at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday, a match that effectively needed just three days to be completed with one lost to rain.

Pandya went short at Vernon Philander, who didn't look comfortable but somehow fended it off to a heavily-packed on-side field. Ashwin, who bowled 31 off the 90 overs India sent down yesterday, has had his first look on the second morning, and troubling both Rabada (3*) and Du Plessis, who has reached 34.

The entire nation was left disappointed over Team India's shameful loss in the opening test against South Africa and was expecting some desirable changes in the playing XI. Amla got a reprieve at 30 when he was dropped by Parthiv Patel off Ishant in the 51st over, the ball going down leg side after the batsman edged it.

"It's all part of the game".

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"I always believe that when two sides are finished with bowling we can make a call on that because it is really hard to make a call on it after just one side has bowled on it".

Du Plessis held his team together until stumps and was 24 not out.

Aiden Markram fell agonisingly short of a third Test century but South Africa remained in the ascendancy, going to tea on 182/2. But today, skipper Faf du Plessis (24*) will hope to carry the tail along and go past at least 350 for a par first-innings score. On the other hand, India who did not deserve six wickets on the day, got so.

He would have wanted to kick himself, though, having cut well against Ashwin all day before getting one wrong. He has picked 89 wickets at an average of 31.25 which is pretty ordinary for a bowler of his class. "All of a sudden, I really had to pull myself back and think 'I am in the game now.'", Ashwin told mediapersons after the day's play on Saturday. Especially in the second innings they bowled to a plan and did not let South Africa have any easy runs. Because at the end of the day, I think I had a bit of cushion there to try all those things. Markram finished top scorer with 94 (150 balls, 15 fours) and the two batsmen contributed 29 of the 40 boundaries that the Proteas hit on the day. He took 13 wickets in a test against England at the venue two years ago.

"Massively disappointed, " he said. So might as well be ready when I get an opportunity.

The pacers haven't struck so far, but whatever little assistance was on offer from the Day I pitch at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, Ravichandran Ashwin made good use of it. AB de Villiers was out for 20, played on to seamer Ishant Sharma. He has four centuries and a double-century at Centurion and was on course to add to that when du Plessis called him through for a quick single and Pandya pounced brilliantly.


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