2nd Test: Proteas stumble after good start

A file image of Shikhar Dhawan in South

A file image of Shikhar Dhawan in South

The home captain though said the wicket at the Supersport Park is a lot browner than he thought. Both, however, missed their tons.

Aiden Markram (94) and Hashim Amla (82) threatened India with signs of a prospective big total.

Aiden Markram scored an unbeaten half-century as South Africa weathered some early pressure from India before reaching 78 without loss at lunch on the opening day of the second test in Pretoria on Saturday.

Markram and Dean Elgar saw off the new ball on a flat pitch after Faf du Plessis won the toss, the former playing a couple of exquisite off drives when the expensive Mohammed Shami over-pitched after runs had been hard to come by.

# No one is questioning Ishant Sharma's inclusion in the side. Rahane still didn't make the playing XI in place of Rohit Sharma but what surprised the seers was Bhuvneshwar Kumar being dropped for Ishant Sharma. Gavaskar felt that opener Shikhar Dhawan is always made a scapegoat.

Bhuvi also contributed a crucial 99 run partnership with Hardik Pandya in the first innings and a 49 run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin in the second. But the umpire's decision remained with the snickometer giving no sign of the ball kissing the bat. The hosts, who chose to bat first, remained wicketless through the morning session.

Elgar fell three overs into the second session. Elgar, who had been largely tied down by Ashwin, chose to step out, like he had in the first over after Lunch to find the boundary, but this time he hit it straight to silly point.

Hashim Amla, who'd survived a chance to Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel on, was on 35 and AB de Villiers on 16. He was in a punishing mood but with a sensible approach.

The Proteas captain also says that they will look for any way possible to put the Indian batsmen on the back foot. What India needed on such a pitch was for their fast bowlers to create pressure from one end and let Ashwin strike from the other. It hit the stumps, and Amla was miles outside his crease in the replay.

South Africa head coach Otis Gibson has already expressed his desire to stick with a four-pronged pace attack. Amla controlled a short delivery from Pandya to the short leg before running for a single. If he had, he would have seen that Du Plessis was not moving an inch and was asking him to go back.

Be it Sachin Tendulkar or cricket great Don Bradman, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has often been compared to legendary cricketers because of his form and batting style.

Then Vernon Philander went aimlessly about for a run in spite of Du Plessis shouting himself hoarse with "no, no".

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