The script did not unfold on the expected lines for South Africa. After skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss in the first home game of the new year and decided to bat first on a lively-looking Newlands track, it did not take India to show why their current bowling lineup is so much talked about.

Even before the spectators and the teams could settle down, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had run through South Africa’s top-order. On the very third ball of the day, he had South Africa’s highest run-scorer in Tests last year, Dean Elgar caught behind.

In his next over, he accounted for Aiden Markram to leave the hosts reeling at seven for two. The right-arm pacer was not done yet, as in the very next over he sent back the ever-dependable Hashim Amla, as South Africa found themselves three down with just 12 on the board.

Credits: AFP

In fact, the condition was so bad that South Africa batting coach Dale Benkenstein was not even willing to stay in the stadium.

“Luckily our phones get taken away otherwise I was getting an Uber and leaving for the hotel at 12/3,” Benkenstein joked at the end of the day’s play.

Benkenstein, however, would have soon glued to his seat when AB de Villiers launched a stunning counterattack. He hit Bhuvneshwar for four boundaries in an over to make clear his intentions and continued batting in the same way before being castled by Jasprit Bumrah for 65.

But before that, he along with skipper Faf du Plessis, added 114 runs for the fourth wicket to lay a foundation for a competitive score on a pitch which is set to deteriorate, as the game wears on.

Bhuvneshwar took 4 (Credits: AFP)

“They are quality bowling attack. At that stage, I was sitting there and wondering how we are going to score runs on this wicket. I just think that class and genius of AB and tenacity of captain (Faf du Plessis), that partnership, even that just one over (when de Villiers slammed Bhuvneshwar for four fours) changed the game. (It) made the bowlers worry about their lengths and that partnership of 100 runs got us back in the game and brought belief back in the change room but at 12/3 not a great feeling as batting coach,” Benkenstein said.

De Villiers scored 65 (Credits: AFP)

Some handy knocks from the lower-order batsmen then propelled the Proteas to 286. In reply, India finished the day on a precarious 28 for 3 with both of their openers – Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and the in-form Virat Kohli back in the pavilion.

Here is the news feed:

SA v India 2018: We (India) could have bowled better, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

SA vs Ind 2018: Statistical Review – Day 1, First Test

Catch India’s tour to South Africa here.

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