India vs South Africa: Hosts' middle order should come good on Day 3 and effectively kill the Test

If they could still be batting by stumps on Sunday then they would have effectively clinched the Test. It's advantage South Africa in the Cape Town Test and they just need one more good day.

FirstCricket Staff, January 07, 2018

Two days of riveting Test cricket and South Africa gained the upper hand in the match. India fought back thanks to Hardik Pandya's 93 but still fell short by 77 runs. Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada picked three wickets each for the hosts while Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel picked two wickets each. Later when South Africa came in to bat, Pandya, once again, came good and this time it was with his bowling. He removed both the openers – Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar. Day 2 ended with South Africa at 65/2.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis plays a shot on Day 1 of the first Test in Cape Town. AFP

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis plays a shot on Day 1 of the first Test against India in Cape Town. AFP

India might still feel that they have a chance in the game and South Africa must be wary of that. A 142-run lead at stumps is good but the job is just half done. The good thing for South Africa is that they still have the wickets of their terrific trio – Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis – intact. The middle order should come good on Day 3, and kill the opposition off.

Amla was still at the crease at stumps on Day 2 and he has a thing or two to prove. He couldn't make much of an impact in the first innings and he will be hoping for a some kind of a turnaround when he resumes his innings on Sunday. If he survives the initial phase and settles down then he will be a big headache for the Indians.

Along with Amla, night watchman Rabada will open the proceedings on Sunday but it's unlikely that he will survive for long. So that brings de Villiers and skipper du Plessis into the picture. They shared a good partnership in the first innings and they would like to repeat it in the second innings as well.

Even if India remove Amla early, they still would have a tough task on their hands. Sending back both de Villiers and du Plessis cheaply will require some effort.

There's also the pitch factor. Batting on Day 3 will not be the same as batting on the opening day; so South Africa's middle order would really have to be careful. If they could still be batting by stumps on Sunday then they would have effectively clinched the Test.

It's advantage South Africa in the Cape Town Test and they just need one more good day.

Updated Date: Jan 06, 2018





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5599 124
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Pakistan 3279 102
6 Australia 3474 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3270 131
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114