Morne Morkel and Simon Harmer took seven wickets between them to bowl India out for 215 on the first day of the third Test in Nagpur.
Hashim Amla will be relatively happy with the performance of his bowlers. Morkel (3-35) left the field after the first ball of his 17th over, but according to journalists at the ground it’s nothing serious.
Harmer claimed 4-78 after missing out on selection in the second Test. However, India’s spinner will be licking their lips in anticipation of bowling on this track. The ball is turning and there is reverse swing.
That 215 could easily feel like 350 if South Africa lose early wickets before the end of the days play.
India were in the ropes on 125-6, but Ravindra Jadeja (34) and Wriddhiman Saha (32) shared a 48-run partnership to frustrate the visitors. Once they fell, Saha to a superb catch by JP Duminy and Jadeja bowled by Kagiso Rabada, the resistance didn’t last long as Harmer and Imran Tahir took the last two wickets.
Harmer struck first after lunch, trapping Cheteshwar Pujara lbw for 21, thanks to a turning delivery which struck the batsman, who was playing on the back foot, right in front.
Morkel was at his best in his third spell, getting some swing and making the batsmen uncertain whether to play or not by bowling a good length. He bowled Ajinkya Rahane with a beauty for 13, the ball nipping back between bat and pad to leave India on 115-4.
Virat Kohli (22) followed his teammate in Morkel’s next over, moving across his stumps to play at a delivery he should have left to be caught by Dane Vilas behind the stumps.
Harmer got his second wicket before tea when Rohit Sharma was caught by AB de Villiers off the bat and then the pad, for two.
Amla used Harmer to occupy one end while rotating the rest of the bowlers from the other. Imran Tahir didn’t add to his two overs from the first session and is probably being held back to bowl at the tail-enders later on.
Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan got India off to a good start with a 50-run opening partnership before Dean Elgar caught the latter off his own bowling for 12. Morkel trapped Vijay lbw for 40.
Picture: Associated Press