India lost three wickets for 28 runs in their first innings after bowling out South Africa for 286 on the opening day of their first cricket Test at Newlands here on Friday. Murali Vijay (1), Shikhar Dhawan (16) and captain Virat Kohli (5) all lost their wickets within 11 overs of play of the Indian innings.
At stumps, No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara (5 batting) and Rohit Sharma (5 batting) were at the crease when the umpires called it a day.
Paceman Vernon Philander started the proceedings for the hosts, drawing first blood with the scalp of opener Murali Vijay caught by Dean Elgar before Dale Steyn dismissed Dhawan, returning with a catch on his own bowling. Kohli was the next man to be back in the hut, chasing a delivery around the sixth stump line but nicked it behind for stumper Quinton de Kock to complete the proceedings.
Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, South Africa suffered early reverses, caused by seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/87) but AB de Villiers (65) and skipper Faf du Plessis (62) helped the hosts recover.
The Meerut-born pacer ripped through the top order, taking the vital wickets of openers Dean Elgar (0) and Aiden Markram (5), and then Hashim Amla (3). Later, he also accounted for the wicket of dangerman Quinton de Kock (43). The morning session of play clearly belonged to the visitors, with Bhuvneshwar reducing the hosts to 12/3 before the duo of de Villiers and du Plessis steadied the innings to take the team to 107/3 at lunch with the former skipper getting to a fluent 41st Test fifty.
Coming back, India's bowlers continued to hunt in packs, with debutant pacer Jasprit Bumrah providing the much needed breakthrough for India claiming the prized scalp of de Villiers, who slammed 11 boundaries in 84 balls.
The fall of de Villiers (at 126/4) brought in de Kock, who along with du Plessis played cautiously. But in the 36th over when the scoreboard was reading 142/4, du Plessis (62) was sent back to the pavilion by all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Stumper Wriddhiman Saha took a brilliant catch to dismiss the Proteas skipper. Paceman Vernon Philander (23) then joined de Kock in the middle. But just when things seemed good for the hosts, Saha took another spectacular catch off pacer Bhuvneshwar to dismiss the Proteas wicket-keeper de Kock (43).
The final session witnessed Chennai tweaker Ravichandran Ashwin in action, as he managed to end the stiff resistance of Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada (26), by effecting the run-out of Maharaj. Ashwin then packed back Rabada whose resolute 66-ball 26 was studded with a sixer (280/9). The tweaker struck once again to dismiss tailender Morne Morkel (2) while Dale Steyn remained unbeaten on 16 as the South African innings folded for 286.