When 20 wickets fell in a day

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Old 27-Nov-2015
Post When 20 wickets fell in a day

Today morning, Dean Elgar and Hashim resumed the South African innings at the overnight 11/2. At the end of the day, the two were still at the crease, and South Africa were 32/2.
But don’t be fooled – it was not a dull, run-less, wicketless day. There was carnage, and there was blood, and South Africa were left grimly wounded.
Twenty wickets fell today, including eight in South Africa’s first innings and 10 in India’s second. South Africa, chasing 310 to win, in a minimum of 284 overs, were down to 32/2 in their second knock.
That’s how Elgar and Amla found themselves in the middle at the end of the day’s play, trying to fight the fading of the light. It’s likely to be a losing battle. In fact, on the evidence of South Africa’s first knock, in which they were reduced to 12/5 before pushing the total to 79, India can start celebrating right away. South Africa lasted 33.1 overs in the first innings and have lost two wickets in 14 overs in the second. Ravichandran Aswhin says the wicket is getting slower and India would have to work hard to get the remaining eight wickets. But the series is as good as won.
Excluding the washed out second Test at Bengaluru, this would be the fifth consecutive Test in India to finish inside three days.
Attack mode
South African coach Russell Domingo says that they’d decided to attack the ball in the morning, because that’s the only way runs could have been scored. “It has been shown that if you just sit there and look to absorb, without trying to score, you will get a ball that will get you out,” he said.
In other words, the batsmen fear that it’s impossible to dodge the bullets coming their way on this track – sooner or later, there will come one ball which will be unplayable.
That explains the attacking, even foolhardy, strokes the South Africans played in the morning. Instinctively, Virat Kohli knew the South Africans were going to attack the empty spaces in the field – his fields tempted the batsmen into strokes of indiscretion.
Elgar got a wide one and, eyeing a four, under-edged the ball into the stumps. Amla tried to sweep Ashwin from outside off to the vacant midwicket region and perished. AB de Villiers fell without scoring when he too tried to hit the ball from outside off to the empty midwicket area. But he made a huge mistake – he was hitting the ball against the turn, and he was trying to do it from wide outside off-stump. This stroke is workable on a truer wicket – on this track, the ball stopped and he could only hit it back to Jadeja. It was 35/5 when Faf du Plessis tried to slog Jadeja, but he played for the turn and the ball didn’t turn. Du Plessis bowled.
South Africa got to 79 because JP Duminy (35) used his feet to the spinners and played the ball straight, and dispatched the bad balls for fours.
Fear had been planted in the minds of the South African batsmen because the turn and bounce were extremely unpredictable – each and every ball could have become unplayable.
The Indians, too, went for their strokes rather than waiting for the unplayable ball.
India’s collapse
India began their second innings with a lead of 136, and they came out swinging. Murali Vijay fell early to Morne Morkel, who was bowling off-cutters! Shikhar Dhawan attacked the ball and got the runs, making the wicket look relatively benign. India got to 97/2 when Dhawan fell to an indiscrete shot, a reverse-sweep, off Imran Tahir.
India went from 97/2 to 128/7, playing audacious shots – reverse-sweeps or shots in the air. These shots were prompted by the fear of the unplayable delivery, and the confidence of a large lead. Several aggressive shots ended in failure. Murali Vijay tried to run the ball down to third man; Virat Kohli attempted a six; Ajinkya Rahane went for an adventurous drive; Wriddhiman Saha attempted a strange paddle shot. Some One-day style hitting by Rohit Sharma took India to 173, their lowest score of the series. That was enough to set South Africa a stiff target of 310 – a bit distant from their first innings total.
South Africa lost two wickets in the late afternoon, but they’ll go for the runs tomorrow – they have to get 278 more runs in 270 overs left in the match. Domingo says that they’d go for victory – no one is betting them to get it.
It’s going to be yet another three-day match.
India: 215
SA: (Overnight 11/2)
D Elgar b Ashwin 7
S van Zyl c Rahane b Ashwin 0
I Tahir b Jadeja 4
H Amla c Rahane b Ashwin 1
AB de Villiers c&b Jadeja 0
Faf du Plessis b Jadeja 10
J Duminy lbw b Mishra 35
D Vilas b Jadeja 1
S Harmer b Ashwin 13
K Rabada not out 6
M Morkel c&b Ashwin 1
Extras (LB-1) 1
Total (all out in 33.1 ov) 79
FOW: 1-4, 2-9, 3-11, 4-12, 5-12, 6-35, 7-47, 8-66, 9-76
I Sharma 2-1-4-0
R Ashwin 16.1-6-32-5
R Jadeja 12-3-33-4
A Mishra 3-0-9-1
India 2nd innings
M Vijay c Amla b Morkel 5
S Dhawan c Vilas b I Tahir 39
C Pujara b Duminy 31
V Kohli c du Plessis b I Tahir 16
A Rahane c Duminy b I Tahir 9
R Sharma c Elgar b Morkel 23
W Saha c Amla b I Tahir 7
R Jadeja b Harmer 5
R Ashwin lbw b Morkel 7
A Mishra b I Tahir 14
I Sharma not out 1
Extras (B-8, LB-5, NB-3) 16
Total (all out; 46.3 ov) 173
FOW: 1-8, 2-52, 3-97, 4-102, 5-108, 6-122, 7-128, 8-150, 9-171
M Morkel 10-5-19-3
S Harmer 18-3-64-1
K Rabada 5-1-15-0
J Duminy 2-0-24-1
I Tahir 11.3-2-38-5
SA 2nd innings (target: 310)
D Elgar not out 10
S van Zyl c R Sharma b Ashwin 5
I Tahir lbw b Mishra 8
H Amla not out 3
Extras (B 4, LB 1, NB 1) 6
Total (2 wkts; 14 ov) 32
FOW: 1-17, 2-29
I Sharma 3-1-6-0
R Ashwin 6-2-12-1
R Jadeja 4-2-6-0
A Mishra 1-0-3-1

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