The bowlers will have to get South Africa back in this game after they were bowled out for 214 on day one of the second Test against India in Bengaluru.
The innings unravelled quickly after AB de Villiers, in his 100th Test, fell agonisingly short of a well deserved hundred.
Morne Morkel (22 off 20) had a little cameo after tea, but Kagiso Rabada (0) and Kyle Abbott (14) fell in quick succession to leave India on top.
De Villiers (85) single-handedly kept South Africa in the game for the biggest part of the day, but lost his wicket just before tea to leave South Africa on 177-7.
It was a case of De Villiers vs India, as the rest of the batting order have been extremely disappointing again. If application was the problem in the first Test, nothing has changed and captain Hashim Amla will be worried as his team.
De Villiers’ wicket coincided with the call for tea to be taken. He was caught behind but the umpire’s checked the catch upstairs. While the catch seemed fine, it didn’t look like the ball came off De Villiers’ bat or glove.
De Villiers looked like he batted on a different surface compared to his teammates. His fifty came off just 59 balls as he is fought a lonely battle in the middle order.
The second session started in the worst way possible when Dean Elgar (38) played the ball on to his stumps trying to sweep Ravindra Jadeja in the first over after lunch.
JP Duminy stuck around for 39 balls, scoring 15 runs before he edged Ravichandran Ashwin to Ajinkya Rahane at slip. The problem for South Africa is that there is nothing particularly special about this pitch.
Like in the first Test, the surface here in Bengaluru doesn’t offer much turn to the spinners and yet they have taken eight of the wickets between them.
South Africa’s batsmen have applied themselves poorly again, being guilty of soft dismissals and poor shot selection.
They lost three wickets in the first session before lunch for just 45 runs. Faf du Plessis produced his second duck of the series, caught rather brilliantly by Cheteshwar Pujara off Ashwin although the catch was referred by the umpires to check whether the ball had made contact with the ground.
The third umpire saw no reason to overturn the on-field decision
Du Plessis has now scored just one run in three innings in the series so far, prompting commentator Kepler Wessels to suggest that Amla move back to No 3 and Du Plessis to No 5.
Amla didn’t fare much better, getting clean bowled for seven after missing a fairly straight delivery from Varun Aaron which deviated only slightly.
Ashwin made his entrance in the eighth over and got a wicket straight away, trapping Stiaan van Zyl lbw for 10. Du Plessis lost his wicket in the same over and at 15-2 South Africa had their backs against the wall.
Picture: Associated Press