Ashwin takes two but South Africa in control

Ashwin takes two but South Africa in control

India was hoping for a quicker end to South Africa's first innings after three swift wickets at the end of the first day had the home team wobbling on 269-6 at stumps. Lungisani Ngidi made his Test debut in the place of injured Dale Steyn for South Africa while India got Ishant Sharma and Parthiv Patel in the place of Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar respectively. Captain Faf Du Plessis came on to bat and left the field only after the umpire called for stumps. Knowing the conditions like the back of his hands ensured that Markram was happy to play out the first hour without trying too many aggressive shots. Ashwin bowled the most overs for India as he bowled a total of 39 overs with one ball to spare. After India's humiliating failure to grab victory in the first Test against the Proteas side, Kohli was heavily criticized. His drives through mid-on and mid-off regions against the fuller deliveries were a joy to watch while he was equally punishing against the shorter-deliveries.

South Africa's Aiden Markram fell six runs short of what would have been a sparkling century.

Markram looked in complete control until his dismissal.

Having taken a while to get going with Dean Elgar at the top of the innings, Markram began to find his touch in the last half-hour of the first session.

The first wicket to fall shortly after lunch was that of a tentative Elgar‚ who was sent back to the pavilion when he was caught by Murali Vijay at silly point from the bowling of Ashwin having scored 31 runs from 83 balls. And then, the Indian fielders closed in and this coincided with some utterly ridiculous running from South Africa. The Indian spin ace then returned during the final overs of the day to dismiss Quinton De Kock for a golden duck with a sharp dipping delivery that took the batsman's outside edge on its way to Kohli at slip. Shami achieved the milestone in his 29th Test, one more than the trio of Bishan Singh Bedi, Dilip Doshi and Pathan.

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Hashim Amla had been out of knick recently with single digit scores in his last three Test innings.

Captain Faf du Plessis on 24 and Keshav Maharaj on 10 took up the challenge and added 13 runs in just over 40 minutes before Maharaj was attracted to one that moved away from him off the surface, and edged through to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Those strikes went a long way in turning a day of toil into a position of parity for India, and lifted their mood after two sessions of largely ineffective bowling barring R Ashwin's two wickets.

It was a stunning end for a day in which India underwhelmed for more than two sessions.

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