Day 2 of the first Test in Cape Town witnessed some brilliant performances on the field with bat and ball. While South African seamers were exceptional with the red cherry in the early part of the day, one man who stood out with his fantastic overall show was Hardik Pandya. This was after the 24-year-old Baroda-lad slammed a fantastic 93 of 95 deliveries and later on picked up a couple of wickets with the ball to help India stay alive in the contest at Newlands.
The visitors began proceedings cautiously on the second day as Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma survived the initial burst by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. But it was the sheer pace of Kagiso Rabada which did the damage as Rohit Sharma was trapped lbw and was the first wicket to fall in the morning session. However, the Proteas continued to pile the pressure in the next period of play and got wickets at regular intervals. At one point India were reduced to 92/7 and it seemed that the match was slipping away from their grasp.
But the duo of Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar put up a defying resistance and forge an invaluable stand of 99 runs. While Kumar dropped the anchor and batted patiently (25 off 86 balls), Pandya showed immense courage by playing a terrific counter-attacking inning. Pandya’s charismatic knock of 93 was laced with 14 fours and one huge six. Courtesy of his innings India went past the 200 run-mark before folding up for a respectable 209. With the ball, the quartet of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada were simply unstoppable as they ran through the Indian top order. Philander and Rabada were the wreckers-in-chief as they picked up three wickets each. Morkel and Steyn picked two wickets each.
With a lead of 77 runs, South Africa began their second innings on a positive note as the opening pair of Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram put on a fifty-run partnership. It was then that Virat Kohli turned towards the man of the moment- Hardik Pandya, who repaid his skipper’s faith and got the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Markram. Pandya struck again, a few minutes later, when he bagged the wicket of Dean Elgar which left the Proteas in a precarious position of 52/2. However, nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada and Hashim Amla ensure there was no further damage as South Africa ended second day’s play on 65/2 with a lead of 142 runs.