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2nd Test, Wanderers: Yet again, batting lets Team India down

It was purely because of Ravichandran Ashwin’s brisk 46 that the visitors’ first-innings total could go past 200

Sayak Banerjee Published 04.01.22, 02:04 AM
Marco Jansen (right) celebrates with Temba Bavuma after dismissing Rishabh Pant on Day I at the Wanderers.

Marco Jansen (right) celebrates with Temba Bavuma after dismissing Rishabh Pant on Day I at the Wanderers. Getty Images

Along with the task of taking India off to strong starts, KL Rahul has an additional job of leading India in the second and penultimate Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg that began on Monday, as regular captain Virat Kohli was ruled out owing to upper back spasm.

Captaining India for the first time in Test cricket, Rahul won an important toss, and it never really seemed as if the added responsibility had any effect whatsoever on his batting. He came up with yet another crucial half-century, but the other batsmen couldn’t back his efforts up as India folded for a modest 202 on Day I of this second Test.


No wonder the day belonged to South Africa as at stumps on Monday, they were 35/1. For sure India would have felt much better had Rishabh Pant not shelled a relatively easy catch behind the stumps, allowing a reprieve to Keegan Petersen off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling.

To add to India’s worries, Mohammed Siraj went off the field with a right hamstring issue. The pacer had troubled South Africa skipper Dean Elgar (11 batting) on quite a few occasions during the 3.5 overs he had bowled till then.

Even Bumrah was seen to be hobbling once. With not many runs to defend, unavailability of any of their key bowlers would be a massive blow to India.

That said, their batting disappointed once again, while the South African bowlers too deserve credit for learning from their mistakes in Centurion and making proper use of the tricky Wanderers pitch. Young left-arm quick Marco Jansen (4/31) was the pick of the Proteas bowlers, with comeback man Duanne Olivier (who replaced Wiaan Mulder) and spearhead Kagiso Rabada striking thrice each.

Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had again provided India with a steady start. But Jansen’s probing line found the edge of Mayank’s bat and soon after, India found themselves three down with not even 50 on the board.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s lean patch continued as Olivier got one to bounce a tad awkwardly and end his painstaking stay at the crease. Olivier had two in two as off the very next ball, Ajinkya Rahane played a poor, lazy shot to gift his wicket.

Vihari, who did well for India A in these conditions last month, couldn’t capitalise despite a let-off on nine. And a little before tea, Jansen had a well set Rahul erring as India then had lost half their side with just 116.

Ashwin cameo

It was purely because of Ashwin’s brisk 46 that India’s first-innings total could go past 200.

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