Markram falls short of century in 2nd India Test

Lungi Ngidi

So, amid the battle between top-ranked India and No. 2 South Africa in the second test at Centurion on Saturday, there was some personal vindication for Ashwin with his 3-90, something to replace those Wanderers memories. Parthiv Patel replaced him.

"I play (only) Test cricket now and I get a lot of break in between".

Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Ishant claimed one.

Ashwin said the pitch turned only because of the dampness in the morning, which means the fast bowlers might still be the ones to win or lose the Test. It took an extraordinary 10 minutes in the last hour of play to completely reverse that as India came roaring back.

First, in the 81st over, Amla was run-out against the run of play, getting mixed up with du Plessis as he set off for a single but Hardik Pandya (0-37) found the target on the non- striker's end off his bowling. Citing that Ishant might benefit with his height, Virat Kohli has hurt Bhuvneshwar Kumar's self-confidence.

After inspecting the pitch on Friday afternoon‚ a relaxed Kohli said it was what India had hoped for because both teams will be in this contest where South Africa could wrap up the series with a match to spare.

"Watching Virat Kohli excluding Shikhar Dhawan for just one Test failure, and Bhuvneshwar for no reason at all, Kohli should drop himself in the third Test at Centurion, if he fails to perform in Centurion", Sehwag said. Their batsmen can have no excuse here other than scoreboard pressure.

Work he did, proudly listing on Saturday the changes he made: Making his action more fluid and "repeatable", changing his wrist position and adding a few different deliveries to his repertoire, including "the flipper". What India got was an economy rate of 4.18 from Shami and 3.16 from Bumrah despite a late slowdown. Three runs collected off the final over of the opening day, with the game pretty much in balance as the game moves to the second day. The conditions demanding high discipline, but the Indian pacers failed to put three balls in the good areas on a consistent basis, encouraging the cautious batsmen to open up. He survived a half-chance to Hardik Pandya at short midwicket off Ashwin on 14 and a diving catch to Patel when he glanced Ishant Sharma to the wicketkeeper's left with his score on 30. By tea, 76 of the 129 runs scored off the fast bowlers had come on the leg side, in a country where you are well served to attack the batsmen just outside off.

Pandya and Ashwin were batting at No. 7 and 8 respectively, which suggests India have enough depth in their batting order - if their top-order players can get themselves through the new ball. "Keshav Maharaj is still in and Kagiso Rabada showed his worth in the previous Test as well, along with the leadership of Faf", Markram signed off. "And then when we walked into the ground yesterday, it was white in colour and the grass was coming off", Ashwin said. It shouldn't always take pieces of magic, though.

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