Indian bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur set the match on fire with skillful bowling on Day 2 to bring India back into the game against South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Thakur ended with stunning figures of 7/61 to help restrict the Proteas to a 27-run lead. In the process, he broke several records. He had never taken a seven-wicket haul in first-class cricket before but put on a show to remember on a spicy pitch.
The figures of 7/61 are the best bowling figures by an Indian bowler on South African shores in Test history, going past Harbhajan Singh’s figures of 7/120. It is also the best figure against South Africa in Tests all over, breaking Ravichandran Ashwin’s 7/66 in Nagpur back in November 2015.
Thakur also became the second-fastest Indian to take a seven-wicket haul in Tests. He took only six matches to achieve the feat and only Amar Singh, former pace bowler, did it quicker than Thakur in four matches. It is also the joint-best figures recorded in Johannesburg since South Africa’s reinstatement back to Cricket in 1992.
Honors even at the end of Day 2 after Shardul Thakur’s mayhem
Having started out ahead on Day 2, South Africa ceded momentum at the end of the day’s play. The first session was set to be theirs until Thakur burst through with a blazing 3-wicket haul before Lunch. However, Temba Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne built a sturdy 60-run partnership which gave the momentum back to the hosts.
Bavuma, in particular, looked the best batter out of both teams and scored a quickfire half-century. He was dismissed by Thakur but the pair of Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj further frustrated the visitors with their cameos. They ensured South Africa took the first-innings lead before being cleaned up by Thakur.
With that, they took a 27-run lead. Indian openers started out positively but both of them fell to mistakes that could have been avoided. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane joined hands to take India to 85/2, having gained a 58-run lead.