India lost openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in the morning session of the Newlands Test on the opening day. However, following their dismissals, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara negotiated a tricky hour to ensure there was no further damage inflicted on the visitors who are attempting to win a Test series in South Africa for the very first time.
Both Mayank and Rahul had a close shave each at the start of the innings. Mayank edged Duanne Olivier behind where Keegan Peterson almost snatched it while diving full length. Kagiso Rabada then got one delivery to climb up to take Rahul’s edge but the ball landed safely evading the slip cordon. But the joy was indeed short-lived.
Even though the runs were flowing at a pretty good rate at the start, both Rabada and Olivier bowled 24 successive dot balls that resulted in some pressure. Eventually, they reaped the rewards as Rahul first edged Olivier behind to the ‘keeper. The opening batter was tentative in his approach and was unsure whether to leave the ball or play at it.
Five balls later, India were jolted again and this time it was Rabada who got into the act by bowling one slightly fuller just a tad outside off that took the edge to land in the palms of Aiden Markram. Meanwhile, Pujara wasn’t intent on just batting out time this time and made the most of the scoring opportunities that were on offer.
He tucked away his first delivery to pick up a couple and nailed the pull shot for his first boundary. Lungi Ngidi was then flicked towards midwicket beautifully for a boundary and the bowler also gifted one more later on. A confident Pujara then fetched another boundary with an on drive to finish off the session. Kohli, on the other hand, was very patient to get off the mark and opened his account with a trademark cover drive after 15 deliveries. The Indian skipper ensured he didn’t flirt outside the offstump and looked assured in the crease and the dressing room would hope for more of the same from the experienced duo post lunch.
Brief scores: India 75/2 (Cheteshwar Pujara 26*; Duanne Olivier 1-14) vs South Africa