By BV Swagath
Update at Stumps on Day 2: Vernon Philander’s all-round performance rescued South Africa both with the ball and the bat on Day 2 in the First Test at Johannesburg. The hosts finished the day’s play at 213 for 6 in 66 overs with a deficit of 67 runs to wipe before getting into the lead.
It was all India in the final session as the Test match dramatically swung in their favour thanks to its three seamers. Ishant struck early, in the fourth over of the final session as Hashim Amla (36) shouldered arms wrongly to an indipper to get bowled. The very next ball, Ishant bowled a full length inswinger which Kallis missed to be plumb in front of middle for a first ball duck. Ishant missed out on a hat-trick though by spraying a widish away swinger to AB de Villiers.
Zaheer Khan provided a massive breakthrough seven balls after Kallis’ exit by trapping his bunny Graeme Smith lbw. Smith struggled to put bat to ball to what was a late inducker from the left-armer which straightened enough to possibly peg back the leg stump. Graeme Smith was well set then on 68 (from 111 balls with 11 fours).
About five overs later, it was the turn of Mohammed Shami to strike, getting JP Duminy (2) to push his short of length delivery away from the body to edge it to Vijay at second slip. Just two balls after that, Shami got the big fish AB de Villiers lbw for 13. AB de Villiers was stuck in the crease and was done in by one that skidded through off the track while darting in sharply to hit the pad in front of middle and leg.
South Africa slipped from a strong position of 130 for 1 to 146 for 6! Just when India were completely on top, a strong partnership of 67 runs between Faf du Plessis (17*) and Vernon Philander (48* from 76 balls with 5 fours) save the day for the Proteas. India could have broken the stand late in the day when Shami had forced Du Plessis to nick him to third slip but only to find Rohit Sharma put down a sitter.
Update at Tea on Day 2: A strong batting session saw SA move to 118 for 1 in 35 overs. Graeme Smith, who was dropped by Ashwin at first slip, early on, made the Indians pay with a knock of 62 not out. Hashim Amla looks as solid as ever, on 30*.
The only casualty of the afternoon session was Alviro Petersen (21), who played across the line, and got out lbw to an indipper from Ishant Sharma in the fourth over of the session.
Update at Lunch on Day 2: India had a disastrous morning session which undid all the good work done by the century of Virat Kohli on the first day. The visitors resuming the second day’s morning lost their remaining five wickets for the addition of just 25 runs in 23 overs. By lunch, South African openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen survived a testing period against the moving new ball to take the score to 22/0 in 10 overs.
Resuming Day 2 at a healthy total of 255 for 5, India lost Skipper MS Dhoni (19) in the 9th over of the morning. Dhoni was forced to edge an away going length ball from Morne Morkel to the keeper. Four balls later, Ajinkya Rahane too was edged out to the keeper with the bowler being Vernon Philander. It was an overcast morning and the ball was doing quite a lot although it required the South African bowlers to draw the batsmen forward.
There was little resistance from the Indian tail. Zaheer Khan was a dead duck caught lbw in the crease to Philander for a first ball duck. Philander missed out on a hat-trick but got his fourth scalp with a full ball to rattle the stumps of Ishant Sharma. Morne Morkel wrapped up things by knocking the stumps of no.11 Mohammed Shami while R Ashwin was stranded on a promising 11*.