India vs South Africa 1st test – day 3 report

After his exploits with the bat on the first day Kohli had stated, perhaps a little too audaciously for the liking of some people that he did not find the South African attack to be too threatening. In fact, in the first innings India would have been able to build a more respectable total had Cheteshwar Pujara been able to continue with Kohli but he was run out in an unfortunate fashion. However, the young turks of Indian batting have proved their mettle on the third day of the very important first test match between India and South Africa.


The second innings is always a very important part in a closely fought test match because that is what helps one team break free and gain that extra mileage that can be used to win the match in an authoritative way. Pujara has for long been regarded as one to fill Dravid’s shoes and he is sure showing signs of getting there sooner rather than later. This innings against the top rated test team of the world will surely fill him with confidence. Kohli will also take away a lot from his fantastic display in the second innings.


Murali Vijay also played a decent little innings that would have helped his confidence immensely. He spent a lot of time in the crease and also got a few boundaries. The Indian team management would be hopeful that he shall be able to use the experience in the next test match. The form of Dhawan, or rather the lack of time he has been able to spend at the crease, will be a matter of some concern for the team management.


India will also be pleased with the return to form for Zaheer and Ishant. While it was Ishant on the 2nd day, the 3rd day belonged to the Mumbai seamer who is on a comeback trail. If Zaheer and Ishant could perform well in the final innings it would augur well for the team’s confidence ahead of the next overseas assignments.


However, the Indian team will be the first to accept that it was helped in a significant way from the absence of Morne Morkel who would with his extra bounce could have presented some serious challenge for the Indians. His absence was compounded by the tendency of Tahir to leak runs at a frightening rate. Perhaps with Morkel around Indians would have been a little circumspect in dealing with him. With one of the 3 specialist bowlers not firing, Smith had a hard day keeping a lid on things.


Without the 6’7” fast bowler, the rest of the bowling resembled a wheel that had lost an important cog. Steyn and Philander tried hard but it was not possible to replace someone of Morkel’s caliber. However, Kallis’ economical bowling made sure that India did not totally run away with the game. This performance perhaps underlines the value that Kallis still has for South Africa. JP Duminy also bowled some vital overs but was unable to achieve much by way of breakthroughs.


One major question facing the Proteas before the 2nd test would be finding the perfect replacement for Morkel. In all likelihood, Kleinveldt would get a game after several months on the sidelines. One of the various explanations being put forward for the decent display of India in this test match is that the conditions favored them. The logic is tad strange considering the fact that they were the same for South Africa as well.


The Indian team is pillaged at every possible opportunity with remarks about its capability to handle high pace and bounce. However, India has been able to distinguish itself at least in this test match so far and so credit needs to be given where it is due.


As far as South Africa is concerned, it would be unwise to yet write them off considering the factor of rain that stalled play on the 2nd day, as well as the capability of Proteas batters in face of adversity. Faf du Plessis who single-handedly saved a test for the team in Adelaide during the team’s recent trip to Australia, could be a major factor. One also needs to take into account the fact that he missed out in the first try and will be chomping at the bits to make amends in the second.


For starters though they would look to pick up the remaining wickets as soon as possible and considering how they performed yesterday it will not be beyond them. However, Graeme Smith will have to trust his 4 regular bowlers to do the job for him and perhaps desist from using the part-time offerings as much as possible. The outcome of the game will be important for both the teams and this can ensure that the match will stay alive for the next couple of days – an exciting factor for all in attendance as well as the players themselves!