Seamers succeed on seesaw day

India

South Africa fought their way back from a dire position to come within 67 runs of the first-innings target they were set by India on day two of the first Test at the Wanderers on Thursday.

South Africa fought their way back from a dire position to come within 67 runs of the first-innings target they were set by India on day two of the first Test at the Wanderers on Thursday.

The fightback was spearheaded by Vernon Philander, who would have won a Man of the Day award had such accolades existed in the Test arena.

Prior to the start of play Philander complained of toothache, but following the solid day he enjoyed with both bat and ball, a few other parts of his body are likely to take strain before the third day's play gets underway.

At the close of play the Proteas were 213 for six following a slump that saw them drop to 146 for six.

Although he is better known for his exploits with the ball, Philander saved the South African side from what could have been a humiliating total by scoring a scintillating 48 in an unbeaten 67-run partnership with Faf du Plessis.

Philander also took three crucial wickets in a spell of bowling that was as accurate as you will ever see in the Test arena.

It was almost as if someone had put a five cent coin on the track and asked him to hit it every time.

The pendulum swung as much as the ball did at the Bullring and the visitors were first to collapse from a position of power.

First India lost five wickets while adding only 25 runs to their overnight total, then the Proteas watched five of their premier batsmen depart with only 16 runs to show for their endeavors.

The South African implosion started when Hashim Amla's wicket was knocked over by Ishant Sharma shortly after tea.

Amla decided to leave a full delivery outside his off-stump only to watch it nip back and break his bails. Still there was no reason for concern as they were 130 for two with plenty of batting to come.

However, with his very next ball Sharma yorked Jacques Kallis in what would be a career first first-ball duck for the prolific run-scorer against India.

But it didn't end there.

In the very next over Zaheer Khan trapped Smith lbw – moving the total number of times he has dismissed the Proteas skipper to 14.

This brought JP Duminy to the middle but he too would fail to make a lasting impression as he was out for two – caught at first slip by Murali Vijay off Mohammed Shami's bowling.

One run was added to the score before Shami struck again.

On that occasion he removed AB de Villiers (13) just as the wicketkeeper-batsman started to find his groove. At 146 for six the home side looked dead and buried.

Prior to his departure the Proteas were sitting pretty at 130 for one, having only lost Alviro Petersen, who was trapped lbw by Sharma.

First to go was Amla – leaving one he should have played – as Sharma got it to nip back. Then Kallis – lbw first ball – with Sharma on a hat-trick. Last one to go was Smith – lbw to Khan

<b>Michael Mentz at the Wanderers</b>

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