India climbed to 77-1 at lunch on day one of the second Test against the Proteas at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada removed opener Rohit Sharma, who scored successive centuries in last week’s series opener, with some steep bounce across a challenging angle. Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was at hand to take a straightforward catch.
Sharma’s departure left fellow opener Mayank Agarwal and the impressive Cheteshwar Pujara to an unbroken 52-run alliance for the second wicket. Fast bowler Anrich Nortje bowled too full to Agarwal, who capitalised with a series of boundaries on the drive. Pujara, meanwhile, displayed impressive footwork in milking spinner Keshav Maharaj through the on-side.
Earlier, India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. This is Kohli’s 50th Test as captain. Only Test retiree Mahendra Singh Dhoni has more.
India replaced batsman Hanuma Vihari with fast bowler Umesh Yadav, while the tourists dropped spinner Dane Piedt for debutant Nortje.
Nortje has been capped at ODI and T20I level and has taken 162 wickets in 47 first-class matches at an average of 25.72.
Last week’s 203-run victory in Visakhapatnam afforded India an early lead in the three-match series. That win was built on the back of a double-century from Agarwal.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
Photo: Gallo Images