Cape Town: Hosts score 17/1 at stumps on day-1 here at Newlands trailing India by 206 runs after the visitors were bowled out for 223. Earlier in the day Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and despite a bit of overcast conditions chose to bat first. Opener Mayank Agarwal got a life on his individual score of zero as South African pacer Kagiso Rabada got the outside edge but Keegan Petersen dropped a tough chance at third slip. The duo from there on batted steadily start to put on 31 runs for the opening wicket.
Protea bowlers kept on persisting as Duanne Olivier bowled three maidens and along with pacer Kagiso Rabada bowled 24 balls in a row. The pressure finally got in as Rahul edged the ball to wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne for 12 off pacer Olivier. In the next over, Mayank Agarwal was dismissed by Rabada caught in the second slip by Aiden Markram for 15. Agarwal’s wicket meant skipper Virat Kohli’s arrival and Rabada welcomed him with a bouncer of the very first ball.
The Indian captain batted patiently along with Cheteshwar Pujara negotiating three maiden overs. Kohli too opened his account with a cover drive after facing 15 dot balls. Pujara and Kohli took India’s total beyond the 50-run mark. The duo ensured that there was no further damage as the visitors scored 75 for 2 at lunch on day-1.
Resuming the post lunch session at 75 for 2 the South African pacers bowled tightly and did not allow Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to bat freely. The duo managed to put up a fifty run partnership to deny Proteas any breakthrough. Pujara was more aggressive of the two batting capitalizing on the opportunities coming his way.
The gritty 62-run partnership was finally broken as left arm pacer Marco Jansen dismissed Pujara caught behind by wicket-keeper Verreynne for 43 to leave India in a spot of bother at 95 for 3.
Ajinkya Rahane came in to bat after Pujara’s dismissal and Jansen managed to find his outside edge too but the ball went in the third slip region where there was no one standing. India reached the triple figure mark but the intriguing contest between bat and ball continued as Rabada went past Virat Kohli’s bat missing the edge by a whisker but captain Kohli replied back with a six of the very next ball.
Rahane’s lean patch continued as he was dismissed for 9 by Rabada who bagged his second wicket caught behind by keeper Verreynne who took his third catch of the innings. The Mumbai lad did take a review but it did not go his way to leave India tottering at 116/4.
Wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant joined Virat Kohli and got off the mark with a boundary towards gully with the ball going over the fielder’s head. Virat Kohli hung in and kept on fighting to take his side to 141/4 till Tea scoring 66 runs in the session losing two wickets.
Resuming the post Tea session at 141/4, Captain Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant took the team’s beyond the 150-run mark. Virat Kohli notched up a resilient half century and his 28th Tests and in process the Kohli-Pant duo also notched up a fifty partnership. The 51-run partnership was finally broken with Pant getting out to Left arm pacer Marco Jansen for 27 caught by Keegan Petersen.
Jansen struck once again in his next over dismissing Ravichandran Ashwin caught by wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne for just who took his fourth catch of the innings.
Despite losing partners at the other end Virat Kohli kept on scoring to keep the scoreboard moving. Shardul Thakur walked in to bat after the dismissal of Ashwin and struck a six to take India’s total to 200. Thakur was later dismissed by Keshav Maharaj caught in short covers by Petersen for 12 of just 9 balls as India lost their 7th wicket for 205.
Jasprit Bumrah came in to bat but was dismissed without troubling the scorers by Rabada who bagged his third wicket to leave India tottering at 210/8. Virat Kohli’s gritty knock of 79 finally came to an end as Rabada dismissed him caught behind by wicket-keeper Verreynne who took his fifth catch of the innings and Rabada took his fourth wicket.
With a bit of resistance from Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav the Proteas bowled India out for 223 with Lungi Ngidi taking the wicket of Shami.
With only 223 runs in first innings Indians needed an early wicket and Jasprit Bumrah did exactly that taking the wicket of South African captain Dean Elgar with a score of 10 dismissing him for 3. Keshav Maharaj came in as night-watchman and along with Markram ensured that there was no further damage as Proteas ended the opening day at 17/1 at stumps trailing India by 206 with 9 wickets remaining. Bumrah bowled 4 overs without conceding a single run and picking up a wicket.
Team India had made two changes in the playing eleven as Virat Kohli replaced Hanuma Vihari while Umesh Yadav came in for injured Mohammed Siraj.
Brief Scores: SA 17/1 (Aiden Markram 8, Keshav Maharaj 6; Jasprit Bumrah 1/0)vs India 223/10 (Virat Kohli 79, Cheteshwar Pujara 43, Rishabh Pant 27; Kagiso Rabada 4/73, Duanne Olivier 3/55) (ANI)