Perhaps for the first time on this tour, India finished a day on top as they were 42 runs ahead when stumps were called on day two. After being bowled for just 187 on day one, India had their back against the wall when day two started.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave the visitors a good start by dismissing Dean Elgar early but the hosts soon snatched the momentum when Kagiso Rabada and Hashim Amla put on a fifty-plus stand. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah brought India back right in the game by taking three quick wickets to reduce the hosts to 107 for 5 from 80 for 2. After Ishant ended Rabada’s 84-ball 30 runs knock, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah accounted for AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis respectively to put India on top.
Quinton de Kock also failed to get going before Amla and Vernon Philander took the score past 150 runs with a 44-run stand. But just when it seemed the Proteas would comfortably cross India’s first innings total, India removed both Amla and Philander in quick succession to leave the hosts reeling at 175 for 8. South Africa still managed to get a slender 7-run lead, finishing the innings on 194. Bumrah starred with the ball for the visitors, taking 5 for 54 while Bhuvneshwar took 3 for 44.
After the bowlers’ brilliant effort, the batsmen also joined the party to help India grab the honours. India’s decision to open with Parthiv Patel along with Murali Vijay did not yield the desired result as the former was dismissed for 16 but Vijay and Rahul helped the visitors close the day on a commanding 49 for 1.
It was a brilliant effort from the pacers once again and Jasprit Bumrah said the visitors are more than capable to give the hosts a taste of their medicine.
“Indian pacers have also got pace. We are just trying to get the wickets (whilst bowling short to the tailenders). If we get it from them, we can give it back as well. That was our basic plan as they were trying to play some shots,” he said after the end of day’s play.
“We always want to contribute as a pack. On another day, maybe another bowler will get more wickets but we wanted to create pressure as a pack. It was always a dream to play Test cricket and get a first five-wicket haul over here. It’s always a great feeling (when you are able to do so),” he added.
India had started the day on a good note when Bhuvneshwar sent back Dean Elgar for just 4. However, Kohli & CO. were frustrated by a dodgy display from Rabada who scored 30 from 84 balls.
“It was not frustrating (to see Rabada bat) because he was playing well. So you sometimes acknowledge that the batsman is playing well. You don’t try too much and just don’t go away from your plans. This is what we were discussing. On these type of pitches, wickets can fall in bunches. We were focussing on that,” Bumrah said.
The right-arm pacer further said that the Wanderers track was a very helpful wicket for the bowlers, perhaps even a touch towards the extreme. But he added that it was a pleasant new experience since he hadn’t bowled on such a wicket in India.
“We haven’t played on many such wickets where there is so much help for the bowlers, certainly not in India. It’s a little different. On such wickets, there is always a temptation that you try harder or get more wickets,” he said.
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