South Africa cashes in, 182-2 in 2nd test vs

Allan Donald

The pitch doesn't have much pace or seam movement, the ball has been turning since the first session of the Test, and despite losing the toss, India have a chance to roll South Africa over for around 300.

For his dismissal‚ Markram's review was unsuccesful as Ultraedge showed that the ball came off his bat and the decision remained that of the umpire‚ who originally had waved his finger for out.

Notably, Dhawan struggled against short-pitched bowling during India's 72-run defeat in Cape Town earlier this week. Soon after lunch, Elgar stepped out and drove Ashwin cleanly back over his head - perhaps the shot of an anxious batsman looking to hit his tormentor off his length - but the next time he tried stepping out, he didn't reach the pitch of the ball and ended up stabbing a catch to silly point.

With a 29th Test ton firmly in his sights, Amla dropped a ball from Hardik Panya onto the leg side and didn't look immediately interested in a run.

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"We would have liked not to have lost those clump of wickets at the end".

That took South Africa from 246/3 to 251/6, and what should have been a dominant day at the office became one that India will be more satisfied with. Shikhar Dhawan made way for KL Rahul, while the team management chose to go with Ishant in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to take advantage of the extra bounce the Centurion wicket is known for.

It is learnt that the conditions in Centurion may not aid swing bowling and Ishant Sharma could be considered in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, despite his six-wicket match haul and a gritty 25 in the first Test. If players fit in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side then they will fit in. "We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside, and "talk of the town", and all those sort of things".

But such counter-attacking and full-of-risk knock does not not pay off always and captain Virat Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri know that. It is in keeping with the team management's belief that this was the optimal choice for the first Test, never mind a lack of practice or collapsing for 135 in the second innings. You still need to have a solid technique and go out there and be ready to face bowling spells which are going to be hard. "We need to embrace that", explained Kohli.

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With South Africa having gone from 246/4 to 251/6, Du Plessis and Keshav Maharaj halted the flow of wickets and guided the Proteas safely to stumps with an unbeaten 18-run partnership.

Rookie pacers Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi have been added to the squad and skipper Faf du Plessis may be lured into fielding either of them.

# A great crowd at SuperSport Park.

Murali Vijay has to do a better job of taking some shine off the new ball at the very least with Shikhar Dhawan likely to look to be aggressive up top. Virat Kohli soon brought Ishant Sharma into the attack who bowled an excellent line and length, beating the outside edge on a regular basis, with a couple of edges falling short of the slip fielders as well.

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AB de Villiers' aggression in innings of 65 and 35 was a key factor for South Africa.

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