India vs South Africa: Host to bat first in second Test

Newlands same old story

Exactly why Amla has prospered on this pitch is hard to pin down - it could have something to do with the pace of ball on bat - though on Saturday that would not have been the case. I have had a great time over the last two-three years.

After losing the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs, India face South Africa in the second game of the three-match series at Centurion starting Saturday, January 13.

Jittery India aim to stay afloat against daunting South Africa. But the curator reduced the greenish part of the wicket, giving Ashwin the chance to play the match.

Home captain Faf du Plessis is not out on 24 will resume his innings on Sunday with Keshav Maharaj (10) on a wicket that is expected to quicken over the next couple of days. Ishant, chosen for his ability to extract more bounce than Bhuvneshwar, was the other Indian bowler among the wickets by virtue of his removing the risky de Villiers for 20.

This was after South Africa won the toss and opted to bat.

Two, Kohli's logic that Ishant Sharma has been picked for bowling bouncers to outclass South African batters also defies logic as height is only one factor when it comes to bouncing the ball.

Hashim Amla made his 82 off 153 balls with 14 fours. Pandya at mid-wicket was again in the thick of things as he flicked the ball back to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps to whip off the bails.

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Aiden Markram had been dismissed by R Ashwin for 94, AB de Villiers was new to the wicket, which did not have as much pace and bounce that Faf du Plessis wanted and took the turn the captain most definitely did not want, and the leg side was packed.

The media waited for the Test to end to ask why Ajinkya Rahane and Lokesh Rahul were not played and Kohli was quick to respond, both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were included on current form.

India went about making 3 changes in the playing XI for the Centurion test. KL Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel got the gloves ahead of Wriddhiman Saha. Having restricted the hosts to 269/6 at the end of the first day, India's dream of conjuring something special from Centurion remains alive.

The openers were unseparated at lunch, but shortly after, Ashwin finally broke through Elgar's stubbornness, with the opener stepping out and pushing at the ball that Vijay latched on to, close in. Ashwin got the breakthrough for India early in the session, albeit it was a lucky dismissal.

All told, each session got better for India. It took a referral for the verdict to come, and when it did the Indian team was jubilant.

Had Amla and du Plessis not attempted a suicidal single, the day could have still belonged to South Africa, but there was hesitation in the calling when Amla had tapped Pandya on the legside, and the fleet-footed and sure-armed Pandya swooped in to get the ball and hit the stumps to leave Amla a yard short.

Then Vernon Philander went aimlessly about for a run in spite of Du Plessis shouting himself hoarse with "no, no". On arrival at the ground on Thursday afternoon, the Indian players were surprised by the brownish strip, which means there may be a need for a spinner going forward.

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