AB de Villiers’ knock of 65 in difficult conditions at Newlands is our Play of the Day.
Day one of the first Test certainly served up an excellent contest. India looked to be in charge after they reduced the Proteas to 12-3 inside 30 minutes. What followed was an excellent partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.
Indeed, that innings by De Villiers allowed the hosts to get back into the game. After taking some time to settle, De Villiers went on the offensive.
Execution matched intent as South Africa’s premier batsman went after the India bowlers. Captain Virat Kohli stacked the slip cordon and asked Bhuvneshwar Kumar to persist with the line and length that had accounted for the Proteas openers as well as Hashim Amla. De Villiers, however, didn’t shy away from the challenge.
De Villiers hit Kumar for four 4s in the space of five balls. Many other batsmen may have opted to defend in that situation. Conditions favoured the bowlers on day one, and the ball was moving off the deck. The chances of nicking off were high.
De Villiers, though, backed himself to counterattack. His performance during that period before lunch provided the hosts with a much needed boost.
Ultimately, De Villiers may regret the choice of stroke that led to his dismissal after the break. De Villiers went after a full-ish Jasprit Bumrah delivery, but failed to move his feet sufficiently and missed it completely. As a result, the debutant claimed a prize wicket.
A score of 65 is worth celebrating in difficult conditions. A century, in what could be called his true comeback Test after the one-sided affair against Zimbabwe, may have propelled South Africa to a first-innings total of 350 or more.
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