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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Report: South Africa vs India, 2nd Test, Day 2 - INDIA Tour SA

Picking nine wickets during the day, South Africa bowled India out for 334 and were trailing by 252 runs at stumps. The first session belonged to the weather Gods, but the rest of it was South Africa and Dale Steyn’s. The ace paceman who had gone wicketless in the second innings at the New Wanderers and on Day 1 in Durban, pegged India back with three wickets in the second session. Steyn’s first spell of the day read 5-2-19-3. Complemented by his fellow bowlers and supported by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, he finished with six wickets as he wrecked the Indian line-up. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: South Africa vs India, 1st Test, Day 2)

Batting for 20 overs, Graeme Smith (35*) and Alviro Petersen (46*) then took the hosts to 82 without loss. 

Earlier, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara took guard after lunch. The first runs of the day came off Pujara’s bat. The No.3 batsman drove Morne Morkel through covers to the ropes. And Vijay too got started for the day with a boundary off Steyn in the next. In the fast bowler’s next over, Pujara collected two to take the partnership to 150. 

The South African pacers bowled a probing line and attacked with short-pitched deliveries. Forcing Pujara to attempt to drive, Steyn had the batsman nudge it to the wicketkeeper and got a much-needed breakthrough. Pujara’s departure for 70 halted the partnership for 157. 

A revved up Steyn then welcomed Virat Kohli with couple of short balls and in his next over dealt a severe double-blow with a wicket maiden. Banged in short by the fast bowler, the ball hit the opener’s glove and AB de Villiers diving to his left caught it brilliantly to end a carefully built innings for 97. The next ball swung in and knocked Rohit Sharma’s middle-stump to leave India on 199 for four. 

Kohli who was still to open his account was joined in the middle by Ajinkya Rahane. 

Morkel who had been pelting short balls along with full-length deliveries built pressure from one end was then replaced by Jacques Kallis. The all-rounder playing in his last Test conceded only a single to Kohli who brought up India’s 200. The No.4 batsman then sent Steyn’s hat-trick ball to deep square-leg for four in the next. With three wickets lost in the first eight overs, the batsmen had their work cut out for them. 

Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson and Kallis bowled a few until the new ball could be taken. Armed with the new ball, Steyn continued to attack relentlessly, but the Indian youngsters stood their ground. It was a battle of nerves as SA attacked and the pair combated them. Yet another short ball grazed Rahane’s forearm and struck the side of the helmet while he tried to duck. In his next over, though, Rahane pulled Steyn to the boundary. A duel was brewing as the bowler hit the No.5 bat again on the body with a short-pitched delivery, but Rahane fought it out. 

Kohli too chipped at the bowling and had garnered 46 until Morkel struck. Replacing Steyn in the 89th over, Morkel hit the deck hard. And with the fifth-wicket partnership on 66, he claimed Kohli. The ball taking the edge of the bat and going down leg side was collected by de Villiers. 
With MS Dhoni yet to score, Rahane took India to tea at 271 for five. 

Scoring more freely in the last session of the day, Rahane took the team past 300 with a boundary off Robin Peterson. Dhoni then departed edging Steyn to the first slip. Ravindra Jadeja followed him back in the next over. Nicking JP Duminy to the slips, he was Kallis’ 200th catch in Tests. 

Zaheer Khan was the next to return to the dressing room. de Villiers jumped high in the air to pull off an improbable catch to give Steyn his fifth wicket for the day. Two balls later, fast bowler claimed Ishant Sharma. But shortly thereafter, with a single to Duminy, Rahane brought up his first Test 50. Morkel, who was brought back into the attack, dismissed Mohammed Shami to wrap up the Indian innings, leaving Rahane stranded on 51.

Smith and Petersen then took the attack to the Zaheer Khan-led India bowling attack. They milked the Indian pacers and had scored at six runs an over in the first six. But Shami and Ishant Sharma applied the breaks and brought the run-rate down. But with the pacers unable to get a breakthrough, Dhoni introduced Jadeja into the attack. Though the left-arm spinner tied Smith down, Peterson stepped out to him to score four. The pair scored at a steady pace as they saw the day through for SA. 

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