Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje removed India captain Virat Kohli lbw shortly before lunch on day one of the third and final Test at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranch.
Nortje went without a wicket during 25 taxing overs on debut in Pune last week, but welcomed belated reward on Saturday. Kohli reviewed umpire Nigel Llong’s decision, but TV replays deemed the trajectory of the ball in the bowler’s favour.
India moved to 71-3 at the break. Opening batsman Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will resume on 32 and 10 not out, respectively, for Saturday’s middle session. Sharma would have been out on 28, had short-leg fielder Zubayr Hamza not dropped a tough catch off the bowling of spinner George Linde.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada had dismissed opener Mayank Agarwal and No 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. Agarwal was caught by slip fielder Dean Elgar, while Pujara departed lbw on the back of a successful review from the tourists.
Earlier, Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. Vice-captain Temba Bavuma, rather than captain Faf du Plessis, represented the Proteas at the toss. Du Plessis hasn’t won a toss in a Test away from home in six consecutive attempts.
Linde and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen made their Test debuts. Spinner Dane Piedt, batsman Hamza and fast bowler Lungi Ngidi were also named in the South African XI.
Aiden Markram and Keshav Maharaj were sidelined by injury, while middle-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn, seamer Vernon Philander and all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy were dropped.
The left-handed Quinton de Kock will open the batting in the absence of Markram and won’t keep wicket.
The hosts replaced fast bowler Ishant Sharma with debutant left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
The home side boast an unassailable 2-0 series lead after comfortable victories in the first Test in and the second in Visakhapatnam and Pune.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), George Linde, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi.
Photo: Gallo Images