India seek 'intent' to combat South Africa speed kings

Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane

However, considering the superiority of Proteas pace battery, South Africa were also confident of their chances which proved right in the end as they beat both rain and Indian batting to take a 1-0 lead and even square up for Mohali and Bangalore in one go.

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.

Amla and AB de Villiers added another 51 runs to the total before De Villiers was clean bowled by Ishant Sharma for 20.

Amidst all this noise generated by various talking heads, TOI can confirm that Karnataka opener Lokesh Rahul - who sat in the first Test - will return to the playing eleven at the Centurion for the second Test match starting Saturday.

Ashwin picked up opener Dean Elgar for 31 for the first breakthrough. "But I do expect another huge performance from them", he said. "I ironed out a few things, used my wrist a lot more when I delivered the ball, used my palm when I bowled the floater". It is learnt that the conditions in Centurion may not aid swing bowling and Ishant Sharma could be considered in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The wicket promises ample pace and bounce, but doesn't have as much green grass unlike the Newlands' wicket, reckons Kohli.

South Africa romped to a 72-run victory in the first test of the three-game series at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday, a match that effectively needed just three days to be completed with one lost to rain. That moment was enough; Pandya sprinted across in his follow-through, swooped on the ball, spun around, and fired a direct hit at the bowler's end.

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The second new ball was due but India captain Virat Kohli persisted with Ashwin and was rewarded when Quinton de Kock edged Ashwin to Kohli at slip to be out first ball.

South Africa's Aiden Markram fell six runs short of what would have been a sparkling century.

Contrary to expectations, there was no assistance for the fast bowlers and Ashwin carried the bowling attack, taking two for 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. I like to believe I was just dogged enough.

There was some consolation when Kohli ran across to congratulate the rising star. "It is a part of the game and we just got to be nice and positive as a side and fight for every run tomorrow morning", he said.

His innings was sublime and he displayed an array of scoring shots, dispatching 15 boundaries in his 150-ball knock. Shikhar Dhawan made way for KL Rahul, while the team management chose to go with Ishant in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to take advantage of the extra bounce the Centurion wicket is known for.

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