Focus on Indian batsmen in 2nd Test against South Africa


South Africa finished on 269 for six. Vernon Philander (0) was then run-out on the last ball of the 83rd over as he set off for a run even as du Plessis refused the single from the non-striker's end.

South Africa lost three wickets for five runs late on Saturday to allow India back into the second Test match at Centurion. The previous one was touch and go but all the stats are in favour of the team batting first out here.

A confident Markram reached his fifty off 81 balls and South Africa moved to 78 without loss at lunch, but Murali Vijay ended an opening stand of 85, juggling to take a catch at silly point as Ashwin tempted Elgar into a loose drive.

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Credit has to go to Hardik Pandya for changing direction in his follow-through, fielding a ball nearly at square leg, turning around and going for and achieving a direct hit at the end that the batsman - Hashim Amla, slower of the two at that time - didn't expect action.

But such counter-attacking and full-of-risk knock does not not pay off always and captain Virat Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri know that.

It should be noted that South Africa had enjoyed a winning spree at Centurion like no other venue across this country with 17 wins and just two defeats. It's the second time in a short career, but I'm just going to keep saying it's part of the game and try to be positive. "We were focused on the lengths we wanted to bowl", he said about Thursday's training stint.

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At the end of day's play, captain Faf du Plessis was unbeaten on 24 runs (77 balls, 3 fours) while Keshav Maharaj was batting on 10.

"They made the mistake of trying to bowl him out of the attack, but it would be wonderful for India if he comes through as a quality Test all-rounder because that's something they desperately need for sure", said Cullinan, who admitted Dale Steyn's absence will hurt skipper Faf du Plessis. It was particularly satisfying for him to have contributed with the wickets of Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock on a day that for a long duration looked like it was going ominously wrong for India.

The pitch conditions at SuperSport Park are again the centre of the conversation, and du Plessis believes that they will be similar conditions to those in Cape Town, where a total of 20 wickets fell inside four days.

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"KG (Rabada) is an incredible athlete - I think that's his strongest attribute". That said, they have held back the call on Rahane and Ashwin for the morning. I have had a great time over the last two-three years.

Markram edged a delivery from spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel on 94 coming from 150 balls as he was denied a third test century in his seventh innings.

Jasprit Bumrah, in his second Test, was elevated to new-ball bowler and failed to impress, bleeding 18 runs in his second spell of two overs. Talking about the missed hundred, Markram said, "Obviously, I am bitterly disappointed. I am not over it just yet".

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