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14 January 2018, 01:40 | Charlene Valdez
Indian cricket team made its entry in Nehru jacket during their India House visit in Johannesburg
The India batsmen failed to capitalise after their bowlers skittled out South Africa for just 130 in their second innings, setting the visitors a target of 208 runs.
Cruising at 246/3, the Proteas then wobbled with two suicidal runouts plaguing what had been an impressive day at the office up until then. The Indian skipper spelled out that this particular selection was based on form.
Both of those knocks oozed quality and the Indian bowlers - particularly the seamers - were made to toil on a day that saw temperatures rising to the mid-30s. Take into consideration his record in Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa in singularity, and this comes down considerably to 27.81 (11 Tests).
Still with a fair amount of work to do in the field on Sunday, India's character will be tested as they look to wrap up the innings and claw their way back into the series. Less straightforward was selecting who should replace Dale Steyn, but in the end South Africa went for the positive option and handed a debut to Lungi Ngidi, whom du Plessis and Ottis Gibson had seen little of prior to Wednesday's practice session.
Markram put on 85 for the first wicket with Dean Elgar (31) and 63 for the second with Hashim Amla (35 not out).
His innings was sublime and he displayed an array of scoring shots, dispatching 15 boundaries in his 150-ball knock.
In 38 Tests since being dropped, Ashwin has taken 205 wickets at an average of 23.82, proving himself one of the best spinners in the history of the game. M Vijay misjudged a catch at fine leg, Parthiv Patel dropped Amla, and there was more than the odd occasion of infielders putting in hopeless dives to avoid long chases. The ball is not expected to swing as much and so, Ishant Sharma, who gets better bounce, was preferred.
Earlier, India made three changes in their playing XI.
De Villiers dragged a wide delivery from Ishant onto his stumps to depart for 20, and after Amla and Faf du Plessis retained control with a 47-run partnership, the slide happened quickly.
India, on the other hand, would look to bounce back and win the second Test to level the 3-match series by 1-1. Du Plessis remained rooted to the spot whilst motioning for no run, before looking at his partner as if to ask why Philander had wound up sharing his end of the pitch.
The Virat Kohli-led side suffered a 72-run defeat in the first match in Cape Town to go down 0-1 in the ongoing series against South Africa.
Du Plessis was at the centre of the next run-out, too, except this time he was the one not interested in a single. If players fit in in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side, then they will fit in.
That took South Africa from 246/3 to 251/6, and what should have been a dominant day at the office became one that India will be more satisfied with.
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