The Hindu

Spin sinks South Africa, again

Ashwin and Jadeja pick up from where they left off in Mohali

- SHREEDUTTA CHIDANANDA

BENGALURU:

Spin brought South Africa to its knees again. R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked up from where they had left off in Mohali, taking eight wickets between them, as India made an encouragin­g beginning to the second Test at the M. Chinnaswam­y Stadium here on Saturday.

Even as A.B. de Villiers batted fluently and valiantly in his centenary Test match, his colleagues crumbled around him. He made 85, a towering effort relative to the other pitiful contributi­ons, as South Africa was bowled out for 214 in 59 overs.

In response, India reached 80 without loss at stumps on the

Besides de Villiers, there was no other bright spot for South Africa, with the highest partnershi­p of the innings a mere 42 Dhawan, to his and the team’s relief, was unbeaten on 45, an innings that included seven boundaries

opening day. Shikhar Dhawan, to his and the team’s relief, was unbeaten on 45, an innings that included seven confident boundaries. Murali Vijay, dropped at square leg by Imran Tahir when on 21, had worked his way to a patient 28. It is a state of things India will not complain about.

The crowds here — numbering over 20,000 on day one — have embraced de Villiers as one of their own, and they let him know in the morning. He was given a rousing welcome at the fall of Hashim Amla’s wicket, and every shot of his was cheered with gusto.

There was an outside edge or two but de Villiers batted with an ease that made his teammates’ struggles appear contrived. Anything short from Ashwin (four for 70) and Jadeja (four for 50) was put away. His feet moved swiftly throughout, a crisp cover drive off the leftarm spinner an illustrati­on of his comfort at the crease.

de Villiers fell 15 away from a hundred, caught in outstandin­g fashion by Wriddhiman Saha. Jadeja’s delivery had taken the inside edge and ballooned up in the air off the glove when Saha rushed out from behind the wicket and scooped the ball up one-handed, diving forward full length.

Besides de Villiers, there was no other bright spot for South Africa, with the highest partnershi­p of the innings a mere 42. After electing to field first, Virat Kohli waited all of seven overs before tossing the ball to Ashwin.

Stuart Binny, included in the side at Amit Mishra’s expense was not required to bowl more than the three overs of his first spell.

Ashwin, meanwhile, trapped Stiaan van Zyl leg before off his second delivery, the opener guilty of playing down the wrong line. Three balls later, Faf du Plessis — mind clearly scrambled — made a dash for the exit.

He hopped out to the offspinner, failed to get near the pitch of the ball, and Cheteshwar Pujara snaffled the inside edge at forward short leg.

Hashim Amla was bowled by a corker of a ball from Varun Aaron, one that moved a fraction off the seam and crashed into the off-stump at pace while the South Africa captain reached forward. The returning Ishant Sharma threatened despite finishing without a wicket against his name; his four noballs could perhaps be put down to rustiness.

Dean Elgar, who made 33 defiant runs, departed two balls after lunch, bowled around his legs attempting to sweep Jadeja. The Saurashtra all-rounder was excellent, tying one end up and pushing South Africa up against a wall.

Ashwin had J-P. Duminy held by Ajinkya Rahane at slip, the batsman pushing at one that spun away, from the crease. India’s close catching, it has to be said, was flawless.

Dane Vilas handed Jadeja a return catch, and when de Villiers too went, tea was called. The last three South African wickets were knocked over half an hour after the interval; the tourists’ misery would only deepen thereafter.

 ??  ?? On Saturday, the first day of the second Test against South Africa, India’s close catching was flawless. Cheteshwar Pujara snapped up Faf du Plessis at forward short leg, wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha was at full stretch to account for dangerman A.B....
On Saturday, the first day of the second Test against South Africa, India’s close catching was flawless. Cheteshwar Pujara snapped up Faf du Plessis at forward short leg, wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha was at full stretch to account for dangerman A.B....
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