Cricket-South Africa trail India after record-breaking first day of second test

By Nick Said

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -South Africa closed an extraordinary see-saw first day of the second and final test against India at Newlands on 62 for three in their second innings, trailing the tourists by 36 runs after 23 wickets and several records fell on Wednesday.

Aiden Markram (36 not out) and David Bedingham (7 not out) will hope to bat on and set India a challenging target on the second day.

Seamer Mohammed Siraj took a career-best 6-15 as the visitors skittled their hosts for 55 in the first innings after the latter elected to bat on a wicket offering plenty of assistance to the bowlers.

India were going well at 153 for four in reply before they lost six wickets without scoring a run, the first time that has happened in tests. The list of unwanted milestones did not stop there for the visitors as they had six batsmen dismissed for ducks — which equalled the previous record.

The first two innings lasted 349 balls, the second fewest in 147 years of test cricket. The only shorter instance was 287 deliveries between Australia and England in 1902.

South Africa lost captain Dean Elgar twice in the day before his retirement, which he announced ahead of the series. He scored four and 12.

Mukesh Kumar (2-25) grabbed Elgar’s wicket in the second innings, and that of Tony de Zorzi (2 & 1), while Jasprit Bumrah removed debutant Tristan Stubbs (3 & 1) as the home side were left teetering at the close.

South Africa were pegged back in their first innings by a superb nine over spell from Siraj, who bowled an impeccable line and length and made full use of the movement off the surface.

The home batters were at times the architects of their own downfall as they made poor decisions around shot selection, especially the lower order, who tried to hit their way out of trouble but only fell deeper into it.

South Africa’s paltry score was their lowest since 1932 at a venue where New Zealand were bowled out for 45 in 2013 and Australia for 47 in 2011.

Their previous lowest innings total against India in tests was 79 at Nagpur in 2015. At home it was 130 at the same Newlands venue in 2018.

India made a fast start in reply, led by captain Rohit Sharma (39) and Shubman Gill (36), before Virat Kohli struck a fluent 46.

But just as they looked to be taking the game away from their hosts, seamer Lungi Ngidi (3-30) took three wickets in an over as he found extra bounce off the wicket.

Panic set in for the visitors in a dramatic collapse that saw them lose six wickets in the space of 11 deliveries, including the needless of run out of Siraj.

Kagiso Rabada (3-38) and Nandre Burger (3-42) were also among the wickets for the home side.

South Africa won the first test in Pretoria by an innings and 32 runs.

(Reporting by Nick SaidEditing by Shri Navaratnam and Pritha Sarkar)