South Africa added an extra pacer in their bowling arsenal for the second Test against India in Pune after suffering a 203-run defeat in Vizag. The way in which Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis used his bowlers in the second Test match – which is currently being played in Pune – was heavily criticised by former Indian batsman VVS Laxman and his counterpart Graeme Smith.
Kagiso Rabada was the best bowler for the visitors on Day 1 as he scalped the wickets of top 3 Indian batsmen. It included the prized scalps of both the centurions from the first Test Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal. Experts felt that he should have been introduced into the attack a lot earlier than he was. The Proteas' captain's decision of not giving Rabada ball the ball for the majority of the second session was baffling. When he was finally introduced, he got rid of Cheteshwar Pujara immediately.
“Faf always comes across as a very intelligent and clever cricketer. Since the Vizag Test, he has been disappointing as captain,” Laxman said in the post-match analysis. “Your main bowler who did well and took wickets in the first session, you would want to give him the ball straightaway after lunch. I think he got the ball just half an hour before the tea break. Laxman added, “Ultimately he bowled 18 overs and those 18 overs should have been bowled in situations when the batsmen aren’t set. Even then, he took the wickets of Pujara and Agarwal. This shows there was a big tactical blunder from Faf du Plessis.”
In the post-match analysis, the former Proteas captain commented, “In general, I thought South Africa was quite negative today. Rabada I think bowled just three overs in Lunch to Tea session. All of us were pulling our hair out that the guy, who is in-form and getting something going, is not bowling enough.”
India were 281 for 3 at the end of the first day's play. Agarwal scored a century while Rabada was the pick of the bowlers. South Africa would look to wrap Indian innings quickly to ensure that they stay in the contest.