Two good, two bad from Centurion
THE GOOD Aiden Markram’s 94
Markram had predicted the Centurion pitch to yield a lot more runs than Newlands. The 23-year-old feasted on the good batting conditions with a fluent and aesthetic innings.
The right-handed batsman showed he has a bright future ahead of him. His drives through mid-on and mid-off against the fuller deliveries were a joy to watch while he was equally punishing against the shorter-deliveries.
The opener was looking good for his third Test ton in only his fifth match but fell short by six runs. Nevertheless, his runs at the top set-up an excellent platform for South Africa to push towards a big total.
Ashwin turns it on
Dean Elgar, after surviving a testing period against Ishant Sharma, had established a strong opening stand along with Markram. Ravi Ashwin found some joy instantly on the Centurion track and had Elgar in trouble before lunch. He had his man straight after the break as Elgar stabbed a cleverly-flighted delivery to backward point. Ashwin then removed Markram with a delivery that did not turn as much as the South African opener had expected. The spin ace then returned during the final overs of the day to dismiss Quinton De Kock for a golden duck with a delivery that took the batsman’s outside edge.
THE BAD Patel drops Amla
Hashim Amla was out nicking it behind in the first Test. The pressure was on the senior batsman when he came out to bat yesterday and battled his way to 30 before presenting a chance to Parthiv Patel.
The 34-year-old’s attempted flick towards the leg-side to an Ishant Sharma delivery took a big edge off his bat but Patel failed to collect the chance diving to his left.
In the side, only due to an injury to Saha, Patel’s drop proved costly for the visitors as Amla went on to add another 51 runs and was looking good for his 29th Test ton before being run-out.
South Africa lost their composure in the final 10 overs of the day as two inexcusable run-outs brought India right back into the game.
First to fall was Amla. Du Plessis called for a single after Amla punted the ball towards the short-leg region but Hardik Pandya sprinted to the ball and unleashed a direct throw at the non-striker’s end.
The second was even more baffling as Vernon Philander‘s flick off Pandya lobbed towards fine leg. Philander kept wandering down the pitch and failed to pay heed to Du Plessis’ call to go back and was run-out comfortably by Pandya.