India toil to 76/4 at lunch against South Africa

India batsmen were made to toil hard by South African bowlers as they posted 76/4 at lunch on the second day of the first Test at the Newlands here on Saturday.

Overnight batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (26 batting) and right-handed Ravichandran Ashwin (12 batting) were at crease when umpires called it an end to first session. The duo helped the visitors to cut short the first innings deficit to 210 runs.

For South Africa, pacer Kagiso Rabada (1/15) scalped the lone wicket of right-handed batsman Rohit Sharma in the first session.

Resuming the day on 28/3, overnight batsmen Pujara and Rohit (11) started cautiously watching every delivery closely to keep rotating strike.

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis used his seamers well -- rotating them to keep the visitors unsettled. Pacers Veron Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Rabada all maintained a good line and length asking constant questions to the opposition batsmen.

Rohit, who struggled to get going in his 59-ball innings which contained a single boundary was dismissed by a delivery from Rabada which struck him in front of off which was initially given out by the umpire. But the Mumbai batsman asked for a review and the decision was ruled out in favour of the bowler.

Following the dismissal, Ashwin, who was promoted up the order started well to hit two boundaries in his 23-ball unbeaten knock.

Pujara from the other end stayed patient to overcome the South African bowling test -- which saw the host pacers mixing up the delivers and producing variations time and again to stay unbeaten in his 91-ball knock hitting five boundaries.

Brief scores: India 76/4 (Cheteshwar Pujara 26 batting, Ravichandran Ashwin 12 batting; Kagiso Rabada 1/15) against South Africa 286 at lunch.

--IANS

sam/vm


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