Young all-rounder Hardik Pandya scored a gritty 93 on Saturday to make some valuable contribution for India as the visitors struggled to cope up against a top quality South African pace attack on Day 2 of the first Test at Newlands in Cape Town. Pandya may have missed out on his second straight hundred in Test cricket but he stamped his authority in Test cricket with this knock. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Pandya smashed 14 fours and 1 six during his 95-ball knock even as the other Indian batsmen surrendered against a fiery attack including the likes of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel.
The entire dressing room, including captain Virat Kohli, applauded the efforts of the young man as he was walking back to the pavilion, helping India to reach to 209 and reduce deficit to just 77 runs.
Enjoying watching this uncomplicated, uninhibited batting from Hardik Pandya. Looking like a batsman.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 6, 2018
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 6, 2018
When everyone struggled Hardik Pandya scores half century against likes of Steyn, Rabbada, Morkel & Philander on seaming track and you can't give better birthday gift to Kapil Dev...— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) January 6, 2018
Earlier, India struggled against South Africa's unrelenting pace attack on Day 2 to add just 48 runs in the first session and go to lunch on 76/4 in their first innings.
Rohit Sharma was out lbw to Kagiso Rabada for 11 for the one wicket of the session, with his dismissal made worse when he lost a DRS review for India by referring when he was clearly trapped in front.
Cheteshwar Pujara was 26 not out, holding India's hopes as it trailed South Africa's 286 all out by 210 runs.
While South Africa's quick bowlers didn't rip through India as they had done late on Day 1 at Newlands, when the tourists were 28-3, India was pinned down by the four-pronged attack. Quicks Rabada, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel all had one wicket each.
There was no respite from the pace for India, which scored just 17 runs in the first hour of play before the grinding Pujara-Sharma stand was broken. That partnership of 30 came off 121 deliveries as they focused on survival early on the second day.
Rohit faced 59 balls for his 11. Pujara had faced 91. Ravichandran Ashwin was 12 not out with Pujara after being welcomed by a short-pitched ball that thudded into his right hand, requiring some attention from the India team physio.