India and South Africa share spoils after exhilarating day of play
South Africa started strongly but could not maintain their advantage.
A day filled with oohs and aahs in both the camps came to an end with South Africa finishing on 269 for the loss of 6 wickets.
Under the scorching sun, the Indian team were forced to field after South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first. As stated by the Indian skipper Virat Kohli at the time of the toss, "It was a no-brainer" to bat first on the hard-brown surface of the Supersport Stadium, Centurion.
The Indian camp witnessed 3 changes, namely Ishant Sharma, KL Rahul and Parthiv Patel coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha respectively. For the South African side, Lungi Ngidi, a 21-year-old speedster, made his debut.
The Indian camp was quiet for most of the day, thanks to wonderful partnerships by the Proteas. However, the inability to turn those starts into big scores might haunt the hosts later as the match progresses. The opening stand of 85 between Dean Elger and Aiden Markram gave the hosts a perfect start, but the unlucky dismissal of Elger cut their party short. The breakthrough can be attributed to three players, R Ashwin for bowling short after watching Elger come down the track, Virat Kohli for placing a fielder at fine leg and last but not least, Murali Vijay for taking a stunning catch.
Markram, with Hashim Amla, however, continued the domination by adding another 60 odd runs to the board after which both Markram (94) and Amla (82) fell short of their respective Test tons. AB de Villiers (20) too tried to wash his hands in the flowing river but fell prey to a slow short ball early in his innings by Ishant Sharma, chopping onto his stumps.
A tight and disciplined spell by Ravichandran Ashwin to go with two run-outs means the Indian camp will sleep happily at the end of day's play.
Expectations from Day 2
Coming onto the field with a positive mindset, India should try playing with an aggressive approach to restrict the hosts under 325. The Proteas though, with Captain Faf on the crease, will look to score some quick runs and take the score above 350. With the new ball in hand, the bowling will in all likelihood be led by Ishant and Shami. An alternative approach of letting Ashwin bowl form one end won't be out of the question owing to the assistance he is getting from the surface.