South Africa’s fast bowlers put the Proteas in the driving seat on Day One of the third and final Test against India at Newlands yesterday.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first in the series decider, India’s batsmen struggled to cope with South Africa’s pace attack and gave wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne no fewer than five catches as they were bowled out for 223.
The visitors’ captain Virat Kohli, who missed the second Test which South Africa won by seven wickets to level the three-match series 1-1, fought a lone battle for his team to score 79 runs.
But he too nicked a Rabada (4/73) ball to Verreynne to bring an end to his highest Test score in 26 innings.
South Africa, though, began the day strong and finished even stronger.
Their pace attack drew blood early when Duanne Olivier (1/42) had KL Rahul caught behind for 12, while Rabada also caught the edge of Mayank Agarwal’s bat (15).
The scorecard read 33/2 when Kohli strolled out to join Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle.
Together they took India’s total to 95 before Pujara (43) was caught behind off the bowling of Marco Jansen (3/55).
Ajinkya Rahane (9) didn’t last long after that - caught by Verreynne off Rabada as India reached Tea time at 141/4.
South Africa then needed to break the 51-run fifth-wicket stand between Kohli and Rishabh Pant (27) and Jansen answered the call, with Pant caught at gully by Keegan Petersen.
When the left-arm seamer had Ravi Ashwin (2) caught by Verreynne shortly afterwards, the scorecard read 175/6 and SA were in control again.
Shardul Thakur (12) added some valuable runs alongside Kohli, but after he and Jasprit Bumrah (0) departed, the pressure mounted on the India skipper and he eventually fell on 79, as India posted 223.
India, though, will feel a little better after getting the big wicket of Dean Elgar (3) late yesterday, when he edged a Jaspirit Bumrah delivery to first slip.
Aiden Markram (8*) and nighwatchman Keshav Maharaj (6*) will resume SA’s innnigs on 17/1 today.