India seek 'intent' to combat South Africa speed kings

Dale Steyn’s participation in the India series was cut short due to a left heel injury that has sidelined him for 4-6 weeks

You can analyse all the lines and lengths bowled by the bowlers, you can look at the discipline shown by the batsmen, and then one piece of exceptional awareness in the field creates a run-out, there is some panic, and you now have your best chance to win a Test in South Africa.

It was supposed to be a bouncy pitch full of pace. "I have had a great time over the last two, three years".

South Africa's batsman Aiden Markram plays a shot on day 1 of the second cricket test against India at Centurion Park in Pretoria on Saturday.

Earlier, in ideal conditions for batting, South Africa raised 78 for no loss in 27 overs at lunch. It took a referral for the verdict to come, and when it did the Indian team was jubilant.

But things fell apart towards the end of the day with De Villiers (20) chopping on before Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis looked like they would milk the bowling until the close. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took both the wickets for India, who toiled hard on a pitch which looked pretty flat. "I feel those wickets in the last session are very valid incentive for the team going into day two". With wickets of openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, India made their presence felt but between those two dismissals, there was a trying spell of play with bowlers ploughing without any luck.

Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out of the match due to hamstring injury, Parthiv Patel was picked to replace him. In the first hour of the Test, India were reduced to asking Pandya to hide the ball well outside off, which he did as ordered.

Most importantly, Elgar is still there and should be hopeful to continue to build a platform as the Indian attack tires in the heat.

Quinton de Kock failed to trouble the scorers as he was dismissed for a golden duck after being caught by India captain Virat Kohli at slip off the bowling of Ashwin.

The credits should be given to R Ashwin for whatever good India did on Day 1 of the second Test of the three-match series.

But Markram and then Amla played South Africa into a position of dominance, with Amla stroking 14 fours and appearing to be on the way to another century at a ground where he has his best record.

Amla, on his back foot, was slow to start and Pandya raced to pick up the ball, turned and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end. "So, hopefully over the next few months, we will get a lot of runs from him", said du Plessis. Ashwin's three wickets have already had some impact but exactly how much of a say both he and Keshav Maharaj will have on this game may ultimately affect the assessment of groundsman Bryan Bloy's maiden Test strip. They must curtail their habit of going after the deliveries.

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