Johannesburg: India pacer Shardul Thakur grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul as South Africa lost the momentum towards the end of the afternoon session to reach 191 for 7 at tea on day two of the second Test.
Thakur (13.1-3-43-5) with his happy knack of breaking partnerships more than compensated for Mohammed Siraj”s hamstring injury as Keegan Petersen (62 off 118 balls) and the in-form Temba Bavuma (51 off 60 balls) laid the platform only to fritter away a promising start.
The only silver lining for Proteas is that they are now only 11 runs short of India”s first innings total of 202. In fact, just like skipper Dean Elgar (28 off 120 balls) and Petersen had a 74-run stand broken in the first session, Bavuma and keeper Kyle Verreynne (21) had added 58 runs in a fifth wicket stand before Thakur once again got into the act.
If outswingers worked well in the first session, it was the scrambled seam off-cutters that did the trick in the post-lunch dismissals. In case of Verreynne, the ball cut back from ”fifth” off-stump to beat his bat while Bavuma just like first Test, lost his concentration trying to whip one that was drifting down but had enough bounce to take his gloves and Rishabh Pant completed a fine leg-side catch.
Pant had three catches and one of which off Rassie van der Dussen looked like having hit the ground before he picked up. While South Africa might still get ahead but to be where they are after being 88 for 1 in the first 90 minutes of the second certainly means a lost opportunity on a track where it”s difficult to feel set.
Jasprit Bumrah (0/34 in 17 overs) and Mohammed Shami (2/52 in 20 overs) bowled their hearts out without getting desired results in the two sessions. Thakur”s strikes at the fag end of each sessions were a big boost for KL Rahul”s men.
Skipper Elgar, who looked to defend stoically at one end, had Thakur getting one to move away which took the outside edge of South African skipper”s bat into Pant”s gloves.
In case of Petersen, it was a rank bad shot as the seamer got a hint of outswing but the delivery was pitched slightly short of drivable length and the half-hearted push only resulted in Mayank Agarwal taking a smart catch in the second slip.
Young Petersen, whose highest Test score till Tuesday was 19, looked in good touch having struck nine boundaries including a glorious cover drive off Shami.