It was almost as if India spent the free time on Day 3 to fit springs to their boots, as their exuberance, and accuracy, in the morning session of Day 4 pulled the Cape Town Test in their favour. South Africa managed only to double their overnight score (65 for 2), but ended up losing eight wickets while doing that through an eventful period of two hours. When the teams walked back for Lunch, India were handed the task of chasing 208 to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar starting decently well on a surface that had extra moisture under it owing to the showers on Day 3, India’s fate in the Test going forward depended on how well (or poorly) Shami would operate. The fast bowler had a troubled start to the game as far as his lines were concerned, but he turned it around rather quickly in the second innings.
Hashim Amla was the first to depart amidst the glut of wickets. The senior batsman endured his second successive poor outing, after nicking another attempt to drive on the backfoot through covers. Rohit Sharma took a tidy, low catch at third slip, which had to be referred to the third umpire. Amla was given his marching orders, as there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence to overturn the soft signal from the on-field umpires.
The ever-excited Virat Kohli tirelessly kept egging his bowlers and fielders on from the start, and early breakthroughs only gave more volume to his voice. Shami troubled the left-handed Kagiso Rabada with his round-the-stump angle while taking the ball a touch away, probing his technique constantly. After a barrage of such deliveries, Kohli made a subtle field change and Shami pulled his length back a bit while bowling closer to Rabada’s body, who was clearly not ready for such a change of plan. Rabada was squared up, and the edge went to Virat Kohli at second slip.
With South Africa on a bit of a shaky ground, Kohli immediately turned to Jasprit Bumrah. Like Shami, the debutant too turned his form around in the second innings, and had AB de Villiers surprised by the sort of bounce he generated on a length ball. De Villiers somehow kept away from edging it, but Faf du Plessis couldn’t escape a similar snorter and departed for a five-ball duck. By this point, South Africa were down to 82 for 5.
South Africa’s counterattacking pair from first innings – de Villiers and Quinton de Kock – came together, but there was no repeat show of some adventurous batting. Bumrah was in the mood to produce unplayable deliveries, and another such consumed the wicketkeeper batsman. The left-hander was faced with a fuller ball that nipped in and took an inside edge to Wriddhiman Saha. India had to opt for a review, but eventually got their wicket as snicko came to their rescue.
From the other end, Shami got one to snake into Vernon Philander to hit the front pad well in line. Philander, for some reason, saw it fit to review what was a straightforward decision in India’s favour. Such was India’s purple patch in the morning session, that even Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned to strike immediately. After attempting to bounce out Keshav Maharaj, Bhuvneshwar found a way to see the back of the lower-order batsman with a fuller ball that tailed away a bit and lured Maharaj into lunging forward and nicking it.
An over later, Dale Steyn was forced to walk out despite already having been ruled out of the series with a heel injury, and having been spotted sporting moon boots and needing crutches to walk. De Villiers had no choice but to try and hit out and one such attempt led to a catch at deep mid-wicket, to end South Africa’s innings on 130.
Brief scores: South Africa 286 & 130 (AB de Villiers 35*; Mohammed Shami 3-28, Jasprit Bumrah 3-39) lead India 209 (Hardik Pandya 93; Vernon Philander 3-33) by 207 runs.
Courtesy : cricbuzz