India on top after wicket-filled first day


Day one of the third Test between India and South Africa in Nagpur saw 12 wickets fall, as the track spun from the off and the batsmen from both sides struggled against the variable bounce.

South Africa were on 11 for two at the close, having lost Stiaan van Zyl and night watchman Imran Tahir in the last half hour of the day. India had been bowled out for 215, and thus held a lead of 204 runs.

India's score was actually better than it looked, given the state of the pitch, and it was the best innings score of the series so far. Simon Harmer took four wickets for the Proteas, while Morne Morkel reverse swung it and bagged three.

India won the toss and did the obvious, opting to bat. They started off well, with the openers putting on 50 for the first wicket, but by lunch they were two down for 85. Dean Elgar and Morkel had struck.

The afternoon session saw four wickets fall, including two wickets in two overs to Morkel. Later in the day, he went off the field with a leg niggle, but after play it was revealed to be a precaution. Losing Morkel, on top of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander being injured, would be a huge blow.

Wriddhiman Saha was the backbone of India's innings, it turned out, as he scored 32 runs off 106 balls, batting for much of the day. Ravi Jadeja's 34 was vital too, as the first hour after tea saw four wickets fall.

The Proteas needed to bat for around an hour in the evening, and found the going tough. Van Zyl was out to Ashwin for a duck, catching the edge and Ajinkya Rahane taking the catch in the slips.

Tahir was sent out to bat, for some reason, and while he did try his best, he was no match for Jadeja, who spun the ball past the bat and toppled the off stump. At the close, Dean Elgar was on seven off 30 balls, and Hashim Amla not yet off the mark.