Some rain before the start of play did raise some eyebrows but still play resumed on Day 2 on time as the showers had stopped till then. Dhoni and Rahane started at their overnight score of 17 and 43 respectively  with India fighting at 256/5. Morkel got Dhoni in the 9th over of the day. Dhoni could manage to add only 2 runs to his overnight score of 17. South Africa had been piling the pressure and Dhoni gave in by nicking a length ball just outside off. Getting only half-forward,he poked at it and the ball went through to the keeper. Shifting the length fuller worked for Morkel. Dhoni was disappointed at the decision, walked off shaking his head, perhaps because his bat hit the pad hard at almost the same time that he nicked the ball. In the very next over Philander saw the back of Rahane. He bowled a he perfect Philander delivery, a back of length just outside off, nipping away just a touch, Rahane had no choice but to play at it, feathered it through to the keeper, and India had lost both set batsmen just when it seemed like the early threat had been seen off. Rahane could manage to add only 4 runs to his overnight score of 43. No one realised when Zaheer walked in and when he went back to the pavilion as Philander got him adjudged leg before for a first ball duck. Coming back in his next over, Philander bowled Ishant Sharma with another beauty. This also took him to the mark of 99 wickets in just his 19th test match. Morkel wrapped up the Indian innings in the next over by knocking of the middle stump of Mohammed Shami Ahmed. India lost their last 5 wickets for just 16 runs . India thus finally caved in to 280.

All the onus lied on Smith and Petersen to provide South Africa the kind of start they got in the ODIs against India but failed to do it as Ishant Sharma drew first blood by trapping Alviro Petersen in front of off stump, it was an off stump ball that was moving towards middle, he was looking to play that towards midwicket and missed, the umpire lifted the finger immediately. Thus, Petersen's lean run continued. A partnership developed between Amla and Smith before Ishant  got Amla in the 39th over of the South African innings. Amla shouldered arms just to find his off stump knocked back. Ishant managed some sharp inward movement from outside off and Amla had completely misjudged it, or had perhaps expected the bounce to save him. In came Kallis and had to walk back immediately with a golden duck as Sharma got Kallis plumb in front of the wickets. In the very next over, Zaheer hot his bunny, Smith caught in front of the stumps. The ball was full and swung into him rather late. Smith could not adjust to the movement as he hurried to play his flick, missing the ball and after a concerted appeal, the umpire raised the finger. Dhoni brought back Shami in the 45th over and he did just what the doctor ordered. He got the wicket of Duminy of the 1st ball of the over. It was a lovely ball, just full enough and close enough to the off stump to draw him into a stroke and the resulting edge was safely taken by M Vijay. 1 ball later the Indians saw the back of De Villiers as Shami got him trapped in front of the stumps by one that skidded and ducked in off the pitch. Philander and Faf Du Plessis stitched together a good partnership to take the Proteas to 213/6 at the close of play on day 2.

9/7/2022 10:11:45 pm

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