Indian captain Virat Kohli was happy with the pitch for the second Test here beginning Saturday. The cracks could open up over the next few days and it coule get hard.
Responding slowly to a quick call from Faf, Amla was caught short as a direct hit from Pandya saw him just short of his crease.
Explaining his strategy, Ashwin said: "When Amla and Markram, those kind of partnerships were going I was a little reluctant to go from over and round the stumps and change angles". Obviously when you don't take wickets, you don't get bull-headed and believe that things will get better. At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series. "I'm not saying that Ajinkya can not or will not start in this game".
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The hosts finished the day on level terms with Virat Kohli and company. South Africa, who were sitting pretty at 246 for 3 at one stage, went to stumps on a lot more shaky 269 for 6, with Ashwin having taken 3 for 90, and bowled a whopping 31 overs, remarkable for a spinner on a Day 1 deck in the Highveld. Here are the five talking points from day 1. Fortunately for him, the toss went his way, he got to bat first and although the new ball was always a threat, once it softened batting became easier.
You know why. It was a performance that closed the door for Ashwin in the playing XI when India played overseas, as Ravindra Jadeja was preferred as a better defensive option. These words might seem harsh but Parthiv Patel missed out on an opportunity which a keeper of his caliber can grab on any day. He edged to wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel.
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. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the best of the Indian bowlers in Cape Town, with six wickets, including a three-wicket burst upfront with the new ball. Sharma clean bowled the home captain to make sure South Africa was kept in check. In that regard, it is nearly certain that KL Rahul, who has a more compact technique, will take Dhawan's place. Barring the move to bring in Rahul, nothing was received well by the fans. Ishant, chosen for his ability to extract more bounce than Bhuvneshwar, was the other Indian bowler among the wickets by virtue of his removing the unsafe de Villiers for 20.
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The 23 year-year old reviewed the umpire's decision immediately but he was just delaying the inevitable as the Ultra-Edge system showed that the ball came off his bat. People still had their doubts over Ashwin's ability on foreign tracks and he sent a strong message to everyone. "But it's a good first-day Indian pitch.which means, don't be surprised if SA piles a mountain of runs", he wrote on Twitter.
But the second run out that accounted for Vernon Philander offered no such excuse.
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