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Run-outs, Ashwin boost India against Proteas

14 January 2018

The final session helped bring India back into the game, with four wickets falling in it for 87 runs.

India's bowler Mohammed Shami, watches his delivery against South Africa's batsman Aiden Markram, during the first day of the second cricket test match between South Africa and India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.

The Virat Kohli-led side suffered a 72-run defeat in the first match in Cape Town to go down 0-1 in the ongoing series against South Africa. His pulling was strong in the morning session, but he got into a couple of uncomfortable positions during one over from Jasprit Bumrah after lunch, misjudging one pull shot that feel short of mid-on, while a few balls later a top edge flew over the 'keeper's head for four. He's been out in the 90s twice now in his first seven test innings.

Despite all its modernity, the SuperSport Park has a certain old-world charm about it. In South Africa, it's exactly the opposite. Vernon Philander (0) was then run-out on the last ball of the 83rd over as he set off for a run even as du Plessis refused the single from the non-striker's end. Veteran Steyn injured his left heel midway through the match and has been sidelined for four to six weeks. The decision was to strengthen the batting. Asked about it, Du Plessis said: "Right now, I look at Morry (Morris) as a fourth-seamer replacement". Keshav Maharaj was with him on 10 not out. "Indian batsmen can't be playing strokes they do in home conditions", Tendulkar told Hindustan Times.

It was far from the high-octane Test cricket that was seen in Cape Town last week, but it was every bit as engaging. The first hour will be hard for the batsmen and we are looking to exploit the conditions. There was an idea to pick Ishant Sharma ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar because the wicket will have more bounce than seam movement. Instead they must harness the art of controlling the pace quartet.

"Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven"? It will not be a surprise if one of Dhawan or Rohit sit out, while Karnataka right-hander KL Rahul - a stroke-maker but with a judicious batting approach - may find himself in the openers' slot. However, they failed to grasp the situation later in the day.

If Kohli wins the toss, opting to bowl will be obvious option.

However, with Ravichandran Ashwin dismissing Quinton de Kock for a duck and Hardik Pandya chipping in with his top-hole fielding skills, the home team lost three quick wickets for just 23 runs.

South African batting hasn't looked too comfortable either with the Indian pacers proving they are up for the scrap but that hasn't anxious du Plessis one bit.

The Indian team management is all set to drop wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and opener Shikhar Dhawan from the playing XI for the second Test against South Africa but chances of Ajinkya Rahane's comeback look highly unlikely.

Run-outs, Ashwin boost India against Proteas