Wickets tumble as Proteas stage comeback to beat India

The fourth day of the first Test between South Africa and India at Newlands saw 18 wickets tumble as the home side staged a spirited comeback to take a 1-0 lead in the three match series.

Vernon Philander was destroyer-in-chief as he took a career best of 6/44, ably assisted by Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada as the home side ran through the Indian batting line-up to set up an important victory.

Having lost the whole of the third day to much-needed rain – as far as the drought-stricken region is concerned – the Proteas resumed the day with 65 runs on the board for the loss of two wickets with nightwatchman Rabada and Hashim Amla taking guard unbeaten on 2 and 4 respectively.

The veteran batsman was first to depart without adding on to his overnight score and was soon followed by Rabada who was caught by the visiting captain Virat Kohli off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for 5.

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Captain Faf du Plessis came and soon followed the duo to the pavillion without scoring as the home side endured a collapse which saw them lose eight wickets for just 65 runs with just AB de Villiers, who was the last man out, showing any form resistance as he faced 50 balls for his 35 runs.

Indian opener Murali Vijay survived two massive appeals from Philander as he was saved by the help of DRS after being given out on both occasions.

It was his partner on the other end Shikar Dhawan who was first to fall as Morkel accounted for his scalp with India on 30.

Philander would get his man soon after as Vijay edged an away swinger to de Villiers who took a splendid catch at gully.

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In walked captain Kohli who joined the dangerous Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle, but the latter did not last long as he edged Morkel behind having just added four runs on the board.

Kohli played his shots from the get-go and was going along nicely on 28 when he missed a straight one from Philander, getting trapped LBW before an unsuccessful review, taking India to 71/4.

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Rohit Sharma soon followed, flaying wildly at one which ricocheted straight into his stumps for 10 off the bowling of Philander. He was followed by Hardik Pandya, who had top scored in the first innings with 93, as he edged Rabada to AB de Villiers who took an even better catch at gully.

Wicketkeeper Wriddiman Saha was Rabada’s secnd victim as he was trapped in front for eight, also reveiwing unsuccessfully as India went to tea at 82/7.

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Ravi Ashwin was joined by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the middle and they offered some resistance as they put together 49 runs for the eighth wicket.

After surviving two convincing shouts for leg before from Keshav Maharaj, it would be Philander who would account for the lanky off-spinner’s wicket, caught behind by Quinton de Kock who was was standing up to the seamer.

This opened the floodgates as Philander cleaned up the tail to clinch an impressive victory for the Proteas.

South Africa v India, second Test
The two sides next meet again on Saturday, 13 January at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Kohli will have fond memories of this particular venue as he fell just four runs short of registering centuries in both innings in the 2013/14 drawn series between these two sides.

This set up an epic final day as the home side settled for a draw with just eight runs to get, while India needed just three wickets as it went down the wire on the final session. This was thanks to a spirited partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis who put together 205 runs for the fifth wicket.

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South Africa will go into the second Test without the services of star fast bowler Dale Steyn who is expected to be out from four to six weeks after suffering severe tissue damage on his heel.

He is expected to be replaced by one of the two all rounders in the squad in Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo as the usually bouncy Wanderers pitch is likely to require a four-man pace attack.

The batting has however been a bit of a concern for the home side and, should they opt to strengthen that instead, it bodes well for Temba Bavuma who was left out of the Newlands Test in favour of the returning De Villiers.

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