Second Test: Ashwin's three, lively fielding drive India's fightback

Ross Houston
January 14, 2018

Ashwin was dropped from the team after that game ended in a draw and had to work harder than ever to stage a comeback, which he did the following year.

South Africa have won the toss and they have chose to bat first once again. The Saturday crowd at Centurion got to see all these shots frequently, since the fast bowlers, Ishant Sharma apart, kept feeding him boundary balls.

By the time of the second chance, Markram had been adjudged caught behind off Ashwin for 94 - the second time he has fallen in the nineties in his seven Test innings. "I have gathered a lot more respect since". "But I do expect another huge performance from them", he said. There are a few things in the first Test we think we can improve upon.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has seized the lead of this attack and you feel if India are to compete he needs to bring his A game yet again.

However, the Ishant-Bhuvneshwar swap is still not confirmed even though the other two changes are more or less certain. He'd conceded 73 runs for De Villiers' wicket in the first innings - which proved costly ultimately - and in the second, in picking up three wickets, he went for just 39 runs. It was started by a superb piece of fielding from Pandya, who responded to Amla's quick single in his follow-through by getting to the ball sharply, swiveling in his throw to knock down the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Markram was in superb touch on his home ground, where unlike Newlands a week ago he could count on the ball not seaming off the surface and was thus secure in defence knowing all he had to do was get into line and counter any disconcerting bounce.

In fact, given his stupendous overseas record, it came as quite a shocker when his name was missing from the final XI for the first Test which India lost by 72 runs in three playing days in Cape Town.

Jittery India aim to stay afloat against daunting South Africa.

Contrary to expectations, there was no assistance for the fast bowlers and Ashwin carried the bowling attack, taking 2-53 in an unchanged 17-over first spell before coming back to bowl another lengthy spell.

Markram, playing in his fifth Test, looked set for a third century to go with hundreds he made against the modest opposition of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out of the match due to hamstring injury, Parthiv Patel was picked to replace him.

There was some consolation when Kohli ran across to congratulate the rising star.

Markram pounced on anything loose by the seamers to hit nine fours and move to 51 not out by lunch.

He, as well as a struggling Dean Elgar (31), put on 85 for the first wicket before Elgar went down the wicket and was caught by Murali Vijay at silly mid-off, checking a drive when Ashwin bowled the ball a bit shorter so that Elgar could not reach the pitch of the ball.

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