South Africa’s hopes of a big lead will hinge on their ability to combat the challenging conditions in the first session on day two at the Wanderers.
The Proteas were 6-1 in reply to India’s 187 at stumps on day one. There was some prodigious movement off the pitch late in the day. Dean Elgar and nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada did well to ensure that South Africa went to the close with only one wicket down.
The Proteas find themselves in a strong position as a result. Batting should become easier when the pitch settles down later today. The hosts will have the chance to reduce the deficit and then build a significant lead.
That said, there should be something in the wicket for the bowlers in the first and third sessions. Thundershowers are expected this afternoon, and the cloud cover around the ground may provide further assistance to those looking for swing.
The first session may well shape the remainder of the contest. India will look to harness the conditions to their advantage. Elgar and company will aim to survive the first hour or so before shifting gear.
Shot-selection will be key. The Proteas will have noted how many of the India batsmen threw their wickets away on day one through poor shot-selection and a lack of patience.
Cheteshwar Pujara occupied the crease for over four hours. If not for Pujara’s show of defiance, India may have collapsed far sooner than they did.
Elgar, Faf du Plessis, and even AB de Villiers have the ability to play similar knocks. If the Proteas come through the first session relatively unscathed, they will be in an even stronger position to take a big first-innings lead and control this contest.
India 187 – Virat Kohli 54, Cheteshwar Pujara 50, Kagiso Rabada 3-39, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-25
SA 6-1 – Dean Elgar 4 not out, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1-3
South Africa trail by 181 runs
Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images