Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers steered South Africa to 107-3 at lunch on day one at Newlands.
The first session of this highly anticipated series between South Africa and India certainly lived up to the hype. After winning the toss and opting to bat, the Proteas were reduced to 12-3 inside the first 30 minutes. The decision to play five bowlers – Dale Steyn was backed after a lengthy injury-enforced layoff – and forgo the extra batsman wasn’t looking too good at that point.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on fire during the first hour of play. The India opener struck with the third ball of the game, finding the edge of Dean Elgar’s bat. Kumar continued to hit the right areas and exploit the seaming conditions. Aiden Markram was trapped lbw, while Hashim Amla flashed at a full delivery and was caught behind.
De Villiers took a few overs to settle before taking the fight to India. Kumar persisted with the same line of attack, and India captain Virat Kohli stacked the slip cordon in anticipation of another edge. De Villiers won this particular battle, though, when he struck Kumar for four fours on the offside in the ninth over.
That said, De Villiers and Du Plessis were made to work for their runs. The surface offered the seamers significant assistance, and Kumar as well as debutant Jasprit Bumrah managed to beat the bat consistently. One particular ball by Bumrah cut back into Du Plessis and then went for four byes down the leg-side.
De Villiers and Du Plessis have put on 95 runs for the fourth wicket thus far. South Africa have done a great job to rebound after a poor start, and will have the opportunity to take control in the second session – providing these two remain at the crease.
India need to break this partnership as soon as possible after the break. Two quick wickets, and they will be into the South African bowlers.
SA 107-3 (1st innings) – AB de Villiers 59 not out, Faf du Plessis 37 not out, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-39
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