Bhuvneshwar put India in front

Bhuvneshwar put India in front

India took firm control of proceedings in the first Test against South Africa after picking up another four wickets in the second session of the opening day, ensuring that all the specialist batsmen were back in the dugout.

Though Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj frustrated India by picking up some boundaries, the visitors would be more satisfied with their effort in the post-lunch session. Having allowed South Africa to reach 126 for three after leaving them tottering at 12 for three in the morning, thanks to a three-wicket burst from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India rallied well to leave the hosts at 230 for seven when tea was taken here at Newlands stadium on Friday.

Bhuvneshwar added one more to his tally while Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Mohammad Shami claimed a wicket each to leave South Africa ruing their decision to bat first on a green top wicket. Resuming from their lunch score of 107/3, South Africa's hopes of raising a big total were dashed when Bumrah's incoming delivery crashed into AB de Villiers' stumps following an inside edge, ending a 114-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

While the boundaries never stopped flowing, largely due to the attacking field that Virat Kohli had in place, South Africa kept losing wickets. Less than three overs after de Villiers' dismissal, du Plessis, who had narrowly survived an lbw review by India, was gone edging Pandya behind. Quinton de Kock (43) fell to a teasing delivery by Bhuvneshwar in the corridor while Shami cleaned up Vernon Philander just before tea.

If India surprised with their choice of playing XI for the first Test giving Bumrah the Test debut and choosing Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane they had a bigger surprise in store for South Africa as Bhuvneshwar gave India a sensational start. The right-arm quick relished the conditions that complemented his core skills swing and seam and rattled the hosts by reducing them to 12 for three in just 29 balls before the home team had fought back through de Villiers and du Plessis.

Before de Villiers mounted a counter attack, Bhuvneshwar was all over South Africa like a bad rash as he picked a wicket in each of his first three overs. He removed Dean Elgar with a ball that just seamed enough to take the outside edge of the opener to Wriddhiman Saha. Aiden Markram creamed Bhuvneshwar for four through extra cover but the right-arm pacer hit back in the next ball, trapping the batsman in front with a delivery that swung and then seamed wildly into him.

Then came the big catch when Hashim Amla played an uncharacteristically loose shot to surrender his wicket. The ball had been seaming away all through his stint but yet the right-hander took a wild swipe at a harmless delivery that was safely travelling to wicketkeeper. Amla could only manage a thick edge and Wriddhiman Saha duly obliged.

Brief scores: South Africa (I Innings): 230/7 in 53 overs (AB de Villiers 65 n.o., Faf du Plessis 62, Quinton de Kock 43; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-68) vs India.

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