As Ravichandran Ashwin Wreaks South Africa, Twitter Celebrates

As Ravichandran Ashwin Wreaks South Africa, Twitter Celebrates

KL Rahul (o) and Murali Vijay (0) are now at the crease.

Brief scores: South Africa first innings: 335 all out (Aiden Markram 94, Hashim Amla 82, Faf du Plessis 63; Ravichandran Ashwin 4/113, Ishant Sharma 3/46) vs India: 4/0 in first innings till lunch on Day 2.

Markram and a struggling Dean Elgar (31) put on 85 for the first wicket before Elgar went down the wicket and was caught by Murali Vijay at silly mid-off, checking a drive when Ashwin bowled the ball a bit shorter so that Elgar could not reach the pitch of the ball.

South Africa again opted for a four-pronged pace attack, picking new cap Lungi Ngidi in place of the injured Dale Steyn.

All told, each session got better for India.

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Ishant Sharma justified his selection ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar by taking 3-46, which included the wicket of du Plessis. A rash of missed chances frustrated India somewhat during a 42-run eighth-wicket stand between du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada, but they created enough chances in an improved bowling performance for the let-offs to not cost them too much. Shami found the rhythm that had deserted him all through Saturday, hitting the seam on a tight line close to off stump and finding movement off the deck, mostly away from the right-hander.

After Keshav Maharaj (18) was out when he edged Mohammed Shami to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, the 100th wicket in test cricket for the seamer, India contrived to drop three catches in two balls.

At the other end, R Ashwin looked like getting Rabada out at any moment, confounding the left-hander with his dip and turn. Then he charged out of his crease, slogged, and miscued one high over the point region.

Ashwin then induced a thin edge off Du Plessis that was spilled by Parthiv as the frustration grew for the visitors.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat on a slow wicket that is expected to speed up on the second and third days, as they seek to wrap up the three-match series after claiming a 72-run victory in the first test in Cape Town. After the defeat in the first Test match, the Indian skipper replied that they made a decision to go in with players who are now in a better form and comfortable mindset to battle out the tough conditions in the African continent.

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