De Villiers led counter attack puts Proteas back on even keel

DSxVt6NWkAA6pec

AB hit a brilliant half-century on his return. Image Source: ICC

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Proteas found themselves on 12/3 after winning the toss and deciding to bat first under hazardous conditions to three testing overs from Bhuvneshwar Kumar but critically still had AB de Villiers at the crease.

The Proteas returning warrior launched a calculated counter-attack that set the mood for the rest of the innings as he and his captain, Faf du Plessis, shared a stand of 114 that enabled the Proteas to score 107/3 in the first session and then 123/4 in the second.

Their final total of 286 coming at a rate of almost four to the over must have exceeded their expectations after the first half-hour’s play.

In reply India closed on 28/3 but had critically lost the wicket of their captain, Virat Kohli, to the first delivery sent down by Morne Morkel, coming on at first change behind Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn who between them accounted for both the Indian opening batsmen.

As always it is better to pass judgment on who holds the advantage until both sides have completed their first innings but with 13 wickets having already fallen for 314 runs the match is moving forward very rapidly and there is nothing to suggest that batting conditions are going to become any easier. If anything, the pitch should become quicker – a point made by Du Plessis when he explained his decision to bat first at the toss – and inconsistent bounce could also come into the equation in the second half of the match.

It is still early days in the career of Ottis Gibson as the Proteas head coach but, if today was anything to go by, he is bringing a touch of Calypso style to the team from his native Caribbean. In the first place the Proteas opted for the attacking option of choosing four specialist pace bowlers plus the spin variety of Keshav Maharaj, in the second the team opted to bat first when bowling may have been a softer option, and in the third the batting line-up struck 39 fours and 2 sixes which, apart from anything else, was largely responsible for a cash injection of R79 500 into the Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) from the number of boundaries and sixes hit and wickets taken.

It added up to a day of high entertainment thoroughly enjoyed by a crowd of close on 15 000.

Both De Villiers and Du Plessis hit 10 centuries in reaching their half-centuries and this was followed by the 60 that Quinton de Kock and Philander put on for the sixth wicket in just 9 overs.

There was also the justification for the line-up chosen with the first five wicket partnerships contributing 142 runs and the last five 144.

India’s attack was superbly led by Khumar who deserved a five-wicket haul but had to settle for 4/87 from his 19 overs. Jasprit Bumrah, chosen for his debut Test, started what should be a substantial career with the wicket of De Villiers while the all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, also proved his worth.

They will, however, reflect on what a dropped chance by Shikhar Dhawan at third slip cost them as it enabled Maharaj to rally the lower-order with an invaluable innings of 35. It is margins of this sort that could well determine which side comes out on top.

Related News

Attachment

Breaking News:
  • 2nd Test: Umesh Yadav’s brilliant show help India to thrash West Indies 2-0 in the series     Vijay Hazare Trophy: Birthday boy Gautam Gambhir’s brilliant century helps Delhi to reach the semis     UEFA Nations League: More misery for Germany as they lost to Netherlands 3-0     International Friendly: India puts up a miraculous show, salvages a draw against mighty China     Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami get a call up for the first two ODIs against West Indies     2nd Test: India eyeing for another rampaging show against the West Indies to seal the series     Youth Olympics: Incredible show by Saurabh Chaudhary, bags gold in 10m air pistol     I would choose Tendulkar to bat for my life, says Shane Warne     Rishabh Pant all set to be included in ODI squad against Windies     MS Dhoni likely to play for Jharkhand in Vijay Hazare Trophy quarters