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

T20 LEAGUE POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
4 3 1 0 6
2
Kolkata
5 3 2 0 6
3
Hyderabad
4 3 1 0 6
4
Punjab
4 3 1 0 6
5
Rajasthan
5 2 3 0 4
6
Mumbai
4 1 3 0 2
7
Bangalore
4 1 3 0 2
8
Delhi
4 1 3 0 2



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5313 121
2 South Africa 5154 117
3 New Zealand 3886 102
4 Australia 4599 102
5 England 5029 97
6 Sri Lanka 4374 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 7594 122
2 South Africa 6911 117
3 England 7496 117
4 New Zealand 7081 114
5 Australia 6376 112
6 Pakistan 4877 96
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3763 130
2 Australia 2513 126
3 India 4341 124
4 New Zealand 3013 116
5 England 2402 114
6 South Africa 2551 111