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Markram half-century helps South Africa off to good start

14 Janvier 2018

The positive for India was the turn produced by offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was into the attack as early as the 20th over and collected both South African wickets.

South Africa handed a Test debut to seamer Lungi Ngidi with Dale Steyn ruled out for the remainder of the series after bruising his heel in the Proteas' 72-run victory in Cape Town. They are born and brought up on those pitches. He's been out in the 90s twice now in his first seven test innings. Virat Kohli has hinted at Rahane being in the scheme of things.

It was not quicker, bouncier or scarier than Newlands but the uncharacteristic SuperSport Park pitch has not drawn any criticism from the men who have to play on it. The hosts have not lost at this venue since 2014.

South Africa made only a little in their team by replacing injured Dale Steyn by the local pace sensation Lungi Ngidi, who will make his global debut within the series.

Vernon Philander also ran himself out for 0. The Indian batsmen were presumably guilty of going out of the line with their heads not straight but tending to move outside the off-stump. The conditions are far different from that of the sub-continent and India didn't even play a warm-up game prior to the first Test.

To be fair to Rahane, he's a classic Test match cricketer who deserves a place in the eleven, especially with India playing overseas when he averages close to 55. "Citing that Ishant might benefit with his height, Kohli has hurt Bhuvneshwar Kumar's self-confidence", Sehwag added. Their attitude of dominating the bowlers with a flurry of strokes will not work. They have more pace options. They must curtail their habit of going after the deliveries. There was an idea to pick Ishant Sharma ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar because the wicket will have more bounce than seam movement. In addition, Shikhar Dhawan, who has scored 3 fifties and 1 century in the last 6 games was dropped in the second Test because he failed to deliver in the first Test.

Benching Lokesh Rahul to open with and Murali Vijay; benching Ajinkya Rahane at No. 5 and opting for Rohit Sharma; and not roping in the tall Ishant Sharma to take advantage of the Newlands wicket still remain a topic of discussion and will continue to, perhaps, until the start of the second Test. A Test series in South Africa is no bed of roses but it is not as if that a Test has not either been won or saved here in the past by the Indians. "But there is just about enough in it for both batsmen and bowlers". First, in the 81st over, Amla was run-out against the run of play, getting mixed up with du Plessis as he set off for a single but Hardik Pandya (0-37) found the target on the non- striker's end off his bowling. With Amla set by then and AB de Villiers walking out, there was still no respite for the Indians, and a tea-time score of 182 for 2 in 56 overs spoke of how dominant South Africa had been. They were also forced to replace Wriddhiman Saha with Parthiv Patel as the Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman had sustained a hamstring niggle.

Markram put on 85 for the first wicket with Dean Elgar (31) and 63 for the second with Hashim Amla (35 not out).

Markram half-century helps South Africa off to good start