Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 23:47 IST
‘Cape Cobra’ Bites: India suffer batting collapse after Siraj special as 23 wickets fall on day one
Mohammed Siraj got six wickets in a breathtakingly menacing morning spell but to his horror found India losing six wickets in a space of eleven balls.
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Mohammed Siraj got six wickets in a breathtakingly menacing morning spell but to his horror found India losing six wickets in a space of eleven balls in the final session before regaining the advantage against South Africa on a riveting day one of the second Test here. After Siraj’s career-best 6/15 decimated South Africa for their lowest post-apartheid score of 55, India were 153 for 4 before losing six wickets without addition of single run in a space of 11 deliveries to end with a 98-run lead.
There were six Indian batters, who failed to open their accounts and one who remained not out also didn’t trouble the scorer, making it a statistician’s nightmare. Lungi Ngidi (3/30) and Kagiso Rabada (3/38) got five of those six wickets keeping the lead below 100 and gaining the necessary psychological advantage as 23 wickets fell on the opening day. South Africa were more cautious despite being aggressive as they scored 62 for three in their second innings at stumps to bring down the deficit to 36 runs. Aiden Markram (32 batting) looked solid in the middle.
The maximum number of wickets lost on Day 1 of a Test is 25 and that happened in an Ashes Test back in 1902.Dean Elgar, in his last Test match, would like to forget that he got out twice in a day’s play while Mukesh Kumar (2/0 and 2/25) was rewarded for consistently pitching the ball in right areas, getting enough away movement against southpaws. Any chance of the match going into the third day looks remote.
On a Newlands track that offered steep bounce and would certainly come under the ICC match referee Chris Broad’s radar, the red Kookaburra ball took off like jumbo jet from the length making it impossible for batters to survive. Between shoulder blades to lower abdomen, batters got hit everywhere as the bounce became variable towards the end of the day. Rohit Sharma (39 off 50 balls) lived dangerously but smacked seven delicious fours, knowing that surviving won’t get him anywhere. Ditto for Virat Kohli (46 off 59 balls) and Shubman Gill (36 off 55 balls), who also showed right intent.
The talented duo of Yashasvi Jaiswal (0) and Shreyas Iyer (0), from the famed “Khadoos School of Mumbai Cricket” didn’t trouble the scorers, after once again being exposed for technical ineptitude.
A Special Spell
Before Siraj’s special effort, the only Indian in country’s 92 year Test history to take five wickets before lunch was left-arm spinner Maninder Singh, who achieved the feat against Pakistan in Bengaluru back in 1986-1987.On a humid Wednesday morning, South African batters found what a great leveller the game of cricket is with Siraj ripping the heart out of the Proteas batting with a masterclass of pace, swing and seam movement. The Proteas innings ended in just 23.2 overs.David Bedingham (12) and Kyle Verreynne (15) were the only two batters to hit the double digits as the South African supporters in stands were stunned into silence. Jasprit Bumrah (2/25 in 8 overs) also kept the pressure from the other end as Indian skipper Rohit Sharma kept his promise of making opposite number Dean Elgar’s life miserable in his farewell Test.
Mukesh also wrapped the tail up and proved that he is way better than a bits and pieces Shardul Thakur in these conditions. Having been pilloried for conceding 400 plus runs in the heavy defeat at the Centurion, even the biggest of Indian supporters wouldn’t have envisaged such a roaring comeback from the bowlers. Siraj kept the ball on fuller lengths between 4-6 metres and with bounce got most balls to jag back in.From the other end, Bumrah hit the back of length area as Rohit set completely attacking fields, albeit of different nature. When Siraj bowled initially, there was a leg-slip placed while for Bumrah, Rohit himself stood at short leg.
The procession started with Markram going on a ‘fishing expedition’ to a delivery that moved in air and shaped away with the opener closing his bat face. Yashasvi Jaiswal took a fantastic catch at third slip to send back Markram. The stodgy Elgar played one to his stumps off Siraj who angled one across on fuller length, not giving him enough room to play the cut shot. Bumrah got young Tristan Stubbs into a tangle and the simple catch was gobbled up by skipper at short-leg. Tony De Zorzi’s affinity to whip balls off the hips was exploited as he was caught down the leg-side.Unlike Centurion, there were plans in place and David Bedingham, who was fed on the backfoot in the first Test, was enticed to go for a drive on length and extra bounce did the trick. Once Marco Jansen edged Siraj to give him his fifth scalp, one knew that South Africa would have one of their most embarrassing mornings since return to international cricket.
Published January 3rd, 2024 at 23:47 IST
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