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India regain control of 2nd Test against South Africa after 23 wickets fall on Day 1 in Cape Town

23 wickets fell on Day 1 of the series decider between India and South Africa, only the second time in Test cricket history and for the first time on the opening day as the batters from both teams struggled in Cape Town. India are marginally ahead and will look to wrap the game up on the second day.

Written By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: January 03, 2024 22:38 IST
Mohammed Siraj was the star of the day for India as his
Image Source : AP Mohammed Siraj was the star of the day for India as his 6/15 starred as South Africa were bowled out for 55 in the first innings

Ball and bowlers dominated the opening day of the series decider between India and South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town. The records were shattered, batters apart from two didn't know what was happening, and the Test match moved forward rather quickly with the result possible on the second day. As many as 23 wickets fell on Wednesday, January 3, but the visitors will be the happier of the two teams at stumps given they have South Africa three down in the second innings, who still have a 36-run deficit to cover.

23 wickets is the joint-fourth highest to fall on one day of a Test match. This is the second time 23 wickets have fallen on a single day of Test cricket and for the first time on the opening day. It is not a surprise that the only other time 23 wickets fell in a single day (Day 2, SA vs AUS 2011), the match was also in Cape Town. South Africa captain Dean Elgar in his final game decided to bat first on one of the most difficult surfaces as far as Test cricket is concerned and even his Indian counterpart Rohit Sharma wanted to bat first.

But India reaped the benefits of some good bowling and were helped by an uneven surface as the ball was rising even from good and fuller length deliveries. Mohammed Siraj, when the ball is moving, is a dangerous customer and South Africa realised it on Wednesday. Aiden Markram's wicket started it off for India and it never stopped. Only two batters crossed 10 while the rest of the line-up didn't offer any resistance as Siraj registered his best figures in Test cricket while Mukesh Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah picked two wickets each.

It was India's time to counter the Newlands surface with the bat and Yashasvi Jaiswal's horror run continued as he was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada for a duck. Shubman Gill scored a few runs and stitched a 50-run stand with skipper Rohit Sharma who played with an aggressive intent but Nandre Burger had other ideas. He sent back Rohit, Gill and Shreyas Iyer in no time before Virat Kohli held one end up.

Kohli and KL Rahul kept South African bowlers at bay for a bit before it all came downhill for the visitors. Six wickets in 11 deliveries without a single run being scored as Lungi Ngidi and Rabada cleaned up the Indian team in no time. From 153/4 India went down to 153 all out taking a 98-run lead, which was big in the context but the visitors would feel that they left a few out there.

Markram and Elgar playing his final knock for South Africa started well as the Indian bowlers remained wicketless in the first 10 overs. However, Mukesh Kumar, who was threatening to make a big difference finally broke through Elgar's defence and sent him packing for 12. Not long before he got another one in the form of Tony de Zorzi and Jasprit Bumrah sent back debutant Tristan Stubbs to leave South Africa reeling.

Aiden Markram has held one end and was unbeaten on 36 at the stumps and will hope to add a few more quickly on the second day to complete the deficit and build a decent enough lead to challenge India. For the visitors, they will need a 3-4 wicket session before lunch as if that happens, they will be right on course to win the Test match and level the series.

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