India hit back after Markram and Amla half-centuries


The pair provided a solid start after South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first.

India came back strongly late on Day 1 in the second Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion as the hosts closed the proceedings on 269/6 on Saturday.

The bowler, Hardik Pandya, reacted quickly though and his speed to the ball, swivel and quick release to the bowlers' end found Amla two feet short. Finally, Ishant broke the 42-run stand for the eighth wicket when Rabada (11) failed to keep a pull down as Pandya took a sharp catch at deep square leg.

Asked about a sixth specialist batsman coming in or India going into the Test without a spinner, Kohli replied, "Look all kind of situations are possible...what are the pros and cons that come along with the scenarios". At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series.

Shami looked off-colour in his first spell once again, just like in Cape Town, conceding 23 runs off his four overs.

Proteas search for perfect balance

Having selected a team based on "current form" for the last Test, India proceeded to drop their best bowler and the man who faced the most balls, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for the second Test.

The Proteas lost three wickets in just 14 balls to give India the upper hand, Quinton de Kock edging the impressive Ashwin to Kohli at first slip from his first delivery before Vernon Philander was run out for a duck. Their batsmen can have no excuse here other than scoreboard pressure. Feel the area where the bowlers end their followthrough will start opening up in the days ahead which is advantage to Ashwin.

Shami's generosity began as early as the fourth over of the day. Ishant was on by the eighth over. It could so easily have been a day where they ran away with it in the second session, " Ashwin said. In the first hour of the Test, India were reduced to asking Pandya to hide the ball well outside off, which he did as ordered. He came in the side in place of injured Dale Steyn. Irrespective of the final outcome, the series will be remembered for the controversial selection calls and, in particular, for the continued absence of Ajinkya Rahane, whom Kohli rated as the best Indian batsman outside the subcontinent.

India set South Africa 458 to win with more than a day to bowl them out. That he turned out to be their most successful bowler (3/90) was one of those unusual run-arounds.

Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said that his past performances on the ground have hurt his professional pride and he has worked a lot on his game for improvement.

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