The appearance of the treacherous wicket at Mohali summed up the first day’s play between India and South Africa. It was a day, tailor made for bowlers and they definitely had a ball on such a minefield of a pitch. Virat Kohli on winning the toss opted to bat without any hindrance of doubt, but fair to assert, the top order let him down. It all began with Shikhar Dhawan in the second over, who played a rash shot to be caught in the slips.
A 63 run stand between Pujara and Vijay looked like taking India on the course for a big score, but then the part-timer Dean Elger came to the party. Elger dismissed Pujara, Rahane and Saha in simply no time, and those were bonus scalps for the visitors. In the meanwhile, Virat Kohli’s dismissal was another massive blow to the hosts. Kohli’s dismissal was the first test wicket for debutant Kagiso Rabada, who induced the leading edge, off Kohli’s willow.
With things looking bleak, R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja collaborated for a crucial stand for the 8th wicket. This partnership could well have a massive influence on the game. Philander did trouble Jadeja with the ball coming in and dismissed him in the same fashion for 38. Imran Tahir bagged the last two wickets, and the hosts were all out for 201.
South Africa too were dented by the Indian spinners. They lost Van Zyl and Faf Du Plessis before the close of play. Ashwin and Jadeja dismissed them respectively, with straighter one’s and the illusion of spin was enough to create trouble for the visitors. The game is evenly poised with South Africa 28-2, still trailing by 173 runs.
We now go through the statistical highlights for the first day’s play.
1. 102.87. Hashim Amla’s Test average in India before the start of his innings.
2. 7. The number of years since India was dismissed at home on the very first day of a Test.
3. 33.33. The percentage of wickets taken by Dean Elger in this innings as compared to his aggregate career wickets.
4. 17. The number of away Tests played by Ajinkya Rahane in between his last test at home and this game.
5. 2010. The year when Amit Mishra played his last Test at home. That test too was against South Africa in Kolkata.