The second test got underway in Pune with India one-nil up against South Africa in their three-match series.
Both sides showed one change apiece from the teams that played in the first test. India brought in Umesh Yadav for Hanuma Vihari, whilst South Africa preferred Anrich Nortje to Dane Piedt.
India won the toss and decided to bat first, but suffered an early blow when Rohit Sharma, who had scored a century in each innings in the First Test, was caught behind by Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada for 14. However, Mayank Agarwal and Chesteshwar Pujara then saw the home side safely through to lunch at 77 – 1.
On the resumption of play, the pair continued to dominate the South African bowlers, with all of them struggling, apart from Vernon Philander who remained a model of economy. Nortje, spinner Keshav Maharaj, and Rabada all came in for some punishment, as India looked to build a strong platform.
It, therefore, came as some relief to the visitors when they took their second wicket, on the verge of tea, after a partnership of 138. Rabada was the man to strike again, bowling a ball which caught Pujara stuck in his crease. In trying to defend it, he could only get an outside edge to first slip, where Faf du Plessis took a very difficult catch. Pujara departed having made 58, which included one six and 9 fours.
India went for tea at 168 – 2.
After tea, Agarwal completed his century, a fine effort after the double hundred he had scored in the first match in the series. But then he became the third victim of Rabada, falling in almost identical fashion to Pujara, edging a good length ball to du Plessis at first slip. He had scored 108, including 2 sixes and 16 fours.
Captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane then came together at the crease, and the pair put on an unbeaten 75 for the fourth wicket, taking India through to close of play on 273 – 3. At stumps on the first day, Kohli was unbeaten on 63, having struck 10 fours, whilst Rahane was unbeaten on 18.
For the South African bowlers, it was another long day in the field, with Rabada the only one to enjoy any success with 3 for 48.
India will look to bat long into the second day, build a big first innings score, and control the match from there.