India vs South Africa: Team India’s batting prowess leave visitors rattled in Pune
The second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium was a rare occasion in the series so far, when South Africa’s pacers had good bowling conditions to operate in. At the end of India’s first innings, they were left to rue what could have been. Kagiso Rabada had his tail up after grabbing three top-order wickets on the opening day, and the stage looked set for a good battle on Friday morning. But at the stroke of lunch, those three first-day wickets was still all South Africa could boast of.
The Proteas endured one of their most frustrating days on the field—in the record books it will go down as three catches put down, but there were quite a few edges which didn’t result in wickets for the bowlers. Surprisingly, the slip cordon did not move in closer after the first few fell short. It must have been agonizing for Rabada and Vernon Philander as they repeatedly beat the bat and induced their fair share of edges, only to see the ball flying past the fielders or dying down in front of the slip cordon.
In frustration, midway through the second session, Rabada turned against his own teammate, Quinton de Kock, after his throw caught the wicketkeeper unawares. They had a go at each other, and captain Faf du Plessis had to step in when the two went eye-ball to eye-ball. At the start of the next over, the skipper went across to meet Rabada at the top of his run-up in a bid to get him to channel his energies into his bowling.
Rabada is a feisty character and the pressure had built up from the near misses of the first session when South Africa failed to break the partnership between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Philander, in his second over of the morning, got one to pitch perfectly and take the edge of Virat Kohli’s bat but it dropped just short of the wicketkeeper. In between sublime drives and powerful pulls by Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, there were also plenty more boundaries that came off the edge and through the third man region as Rabada and Philander tested the skills and patience of India’s fouth-wicket pair.
When Anrich Nortje replaced Rabada from the pavilion end, he found Kohli’s edge with his third ball but again it dropped short of the slip fielder Du Plessis. For South Africa, this day could not come to an end fast enough.