Indian spinners skittle SA for 214 despite AB’s 85
Bengaluru- Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja continued to torment South Africa as they scalped four wickets each to skittle out the visitors for a paltry 214 and give India an early control of the second cricket Test, here today.
Ashwin (4/70) was the best bowler on view even though Jadeja (4/50) had better figures to show for his efforts as the hosts exploited the favourable conditions even as AB de Villiers scored a valiant 85 in his landmark 100th Test.
Once De Villiers was out off the last delivery before tea, mopping up the tail was a mere formality for India.
It was Wriddhiman Saha, who took a brilliant catch running forward off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling to bring an end to the dangerous De Villiers’ stay.
In reply, India raced to 80 in 22 overs at stumps on the opening day with Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan remaining unbeaten on 28 and 45 respectively.
India are now 134 runs behind South Africa’s first innings score.
Vijay looked in deft touch as he hit five boundaries in 73 balls with some lovely drives on the up off Kyle Abbott.
He got reprieve on 21 when Imran Tahir dropped him at square leg off Morne Morkel’s bowling.
Dhawan, who bagged a ‘pair’ in the first Test, seemed more assured as he played crisp strokes hitting seven fours in 62 balls.
Earlier, more than turn on offer from the pitch, it was poor shot execution that brought downfall of Hashim Amla and Co. as De Villiers showed how to play on a sub-continental track.
Most of the South African batsmen while facing Jadeja and Ashwin played for the turn while most of the deliveries straightened after pitching or moved in with the angle.
De Villiers came out to a standing ovation from the Chinnaswamy crowd with the now familiar chants of ‘ABD ABD’ reverberating across the stands.
With Aaron working up good pace, it was some anxious time for the South Africans as 50 came up in the 17th over. De Villiers’ first release shot was a flicked boundary off his hips off Aaron’s bowling. When Ashwin dropped one short, he rocked back and smacked it through square leg region as they went into lunch at 78 for three.
The standout shot came in the post lunch session in the form of an off-drive off Ishant Sharma. It was played with effortless ease. Later when he was in his 70s, he clobbered Ishant over extra cover for another boundary.
India’s fastest bowler Varun Aaron was also hit for back to back boundaries. First a juicy full toss was dispatched through covers and then bisected one through the region between point and gully.
De Villiers then square cut Aaron for his eighth boundary. He glided one from Ashwin towards backward square leg region to complete his 38th Test half century in 59 balls.
When Jadeja tried to flight one, he used quick footwork to good effect as he cover drove the left-arm spinner for a boundary.
He was unruffled at one end even as he kept losing partners. The partnerships he had for the 4th, 5th and 6th wicket stands were 33 with Dean Elgar (38), 42 with JP Duminy (15) and 39 with Dane Vilas (15) respectively.
None of them could show the gumption for a fight as South Africa’s premier batsman fought a lonely battle at the other end.
It was Ashwin, who was undoubtedly the best Indian bowler on view. The Tamil Nadu tweaker was introduced into the attack in the 8th over after Stuart Binny could hardly trouble the openers after being entrusted with the duty of sharing the new ball with Ishant.
Ashwin immediately got into the act with twin strikes in his very first over. It took him only two balls to draw the first blood for India. He flighted one that straightened after pitching and caught opener Stiaan van Zyl (10) plumb in-front.
The ball was hitting the middle stump.
Faf du Plessis (0) wanted to use his feet as Ashwin altered the length but as he came down and tried to whip one, Cheteshwar Pujara at short-leg took a reflex catch crouching low. The visitors were reduced to 15 for two in 8 overs. While third umpire adjudged it as clean catch, TV replays showed
that part of the ball was touching the ground.
Skipper Hashim Amla (7) and Elgar tried to do some repair work as they added 30 runs in which the left handed opener hit a straight six off Ashwin.
However Aaron, who came in as the second change, struck in his third over to compound Amla’s miseries. The South African captain played inside the line to a delivery that did not shape in enough and in the process knocked the off-stump back to make it 45 for three.
The post lunch session had started on a bright note for India as Ravindra Jadeja struck with the second ball of the session as Dean Elgar (38), who looked like putting up a resistance dragged one onto his stumps trying a sweep shot. It was at 78 for four that Duminy joined De Villiers. The two
experienced players took the score to 100 in the 32nd over.
But Ashwin got his third victim when Duminy (15) edged an off-break to Ajinkya Rahane standing as lone slip. The stand yielded 42 runs off 66 balls but was nothing compared to what was expected from the left-hander as his team was tottering at 120 for five.
Vilas played some strokes trying to break the shackle but didn’t last long offering a straightforward return catch to give Jadeja, his second wicket. The Proteas were 159 for six.
It became 177 for seven at the stroke of tea as De Villiers was dismissed.
It was Morne Morkel (22) and Kyle Abbott (14), who added 37 runs for the ninth wicket to take South Africa past 200-run mark for the first time in the Test series.