Proteas top order pile on the runs
South Africa’s powerful top order took over where their bowlers had left off on the second day of the first Test against India at Centurion on Friday.
After India had succumbed for a paltry 136 on the second morning, Graeme Smith (62), Alviro Petersen (77), Hashim Amla (50 not out) and Jacques Kallis (42 not out) feasted on an attack that unable to restrict the scoring rate to fewer than four runs an over. At tea, the hosts were 236-2 from 55 overs.
India’s only successful bowler was off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, with 2-73 in 14 expensive overs, as their lacklustre seamers failed to obtain any life out of the pitch.
Petersen hit nine fours and a six, including some wonderful drives through the covers, before he tried to tickle a quicker delivery from Harbhajan. The ball went straight on with the arm, to the leg-side and Pietersen looped up a bat/pad catch to short-leg.
The 30-year-old had put on 111 for the first wicket with captain Smith and 55 for the second wicket with Amla.
Amla and Kallis then picked up the openers’ mantle and had added 70 runs in just 15 overs by the tea break.
India had resumed on the second morning on 136-9 and their captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was unable to dig them out of their hole. He survived just two balls before Morne Morkel jagged a delivery back into him and he was out lbw for 33.
The wicket gave Morkel career-best figures of 5-20 in 12.4 overs, a reward for his top-class bowling during which he fully exploited the bounce and seam movement.
Dale Steyn was a wonderful ally with 3-34 in 10 overs.
India could remove just one South African batsman in the 27 overs before lunch. Smith top-edged a cut at Harbhajan and offered a sharp chance to wicketkeeper Dhoni. The left-hander’s 62 had come off just 87 balls with 11 fours.—Reuters