India require 208 runs for victory in the first Test after dismissing South Africa for 130 on day four at Newlands.
Earlier on Monday morning, Cricket South Africa confirmed that Dale Steyn would play no further part in the series due to a heel injury. Late in the first session, however, after the Proteas had collapsed to lose seven wickets, Steyn was forced to join AB de Villiers in the middle with the aim of adding a few more runs to the hosts’ total.
Steyn injured his heel while bowling on day two. Initially, it was reported that the fast bowler was in a moon boot and was unlikely to bat. Yet after the ninth wicket fell shortly before lunch, Steyn, sans moon-boot, strolled to the crease.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Steyn’s heroics were in vain. De Villiers was caught on the boundary not long after the fast bowler’s arrival.
South Africa lost eight wickets for 65 runs in the first session. They now face the prospect of bowling India out with only four bowlers in their attack. Steyn won’t bowl later today, and won’t feature again in this series.
India came into day four needing something special to turn the game around. While Hardik Pandya scored 93 to boost the tourists’ total to 209 on day two, it was South Africa who finished with a 142-run lead and their noses in front.
With day three washed out due to heavy rain in the Newlands area, India enjoyed some respite. Nevertheless, their chances of winning this game were always going to hinge on their performance with the ball when play resumed.
The cloud cover and the pitch certainly assisted the India bowlers. The Proteas batsmen battled to adjust to the bounce as well as the movement. After an hour and 15 minutes, South Africa had lost five wickets and added just 30 runs to their total.
Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were on fire during this period. Hashim Amla attempted to cut Shami in the second over of the day, but only succeeded in edging the ball to fourth slip.
Nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada played and missed on several occasions before receiving a shorter delivery, squaring up, and edging it to an elated Virat Kohli in the cordon.
Bumrah got the big wicket of Faf du Plessis with a similar delivery that leapt off the surface and caught the glove of the batsman. Quinton de Kock also came off second best against Bumrah, offering up a catch to gully.
The Proteas failed to see out the remainder of the first session. At the end, De Villiers attempted to farm the strike. A big shot toward the long-on boundary ended in his dismissal, though.
SA 286 (1st innings) – AB de Villiers 65, Faf du Plessis 62, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-87, Ravi Ashwin 2-21
India 209 (1st innings) – Hardik Pandya 93, Cheteshwar Pujara 26, Vernon Philander 3-33, Kagiso Rabada 3-34
SA 130 (2nd innings) – AB de Villiers 35, Aiden Markram 34, Mohammed Shami 3-28, Jasprit Bumrah 3-39
India need 208 runs to win
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