India reduced South Africa to 11 for two wickets after being bowled out for 215 runs in their first innings on the first day of the third Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Wednesday.
For South Africa, Dean Elgar (7 batting) and skipper Hashim Amla (0 batting) were at the crease at the end of the day after spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked one wicket each for India.
For the hosts, opener Murali Vijay (40) was the top-scorer alongside Ravindra Jadeja (34) and Wriddhiman Saha (32) who provided some handy runs towards the end which helped the side cross the 200-run mark in the first innings.
For the visitors, off-spinner Simon Harmer (4/78) and seamer Morne Morkel (3/35) were the pick of the bowlers while Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada, and Imran Tahir picked one wicket each.
Opting to bat first on a dry and slow pitch, India got off to a modest start, taking time to settle down and assessing the nature of the pitch.
Both openers Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan (12) made sure they spent considerable time at the crease.
But soon after their 50-run opening stand, left-arm spinner Dean Elgar brought about the early breakthrough by dismissing Dhawan inside 15 overs.
Dhawan, who tried to come down the track and drive the ball away, only managed to hit the inside half of the bat which resulted in the ball going straight back at Elgar who took a good diving catch in front of the stumps to dismiss the left-handed batsman.
Cheteshwar Pujara (21) joined Vijay in the middle but just a few overs before the lunch the Proteas struck yet again to leave India at 69/2.
Morkel bowled Vijay who intended to play through the leg side but missed the ball to be adjudged leg before the wicket (LBW).
Skipper Virat Kohli (22) and Pujara aimed to help team recover but the duo never looked comfortable on the pitch.
In the very fourth over after lunch, Harmer got the vital wicket of Pujara (21) to leave India in trouble at 94/3.
From there on, the Proteas didn’t look back, some tight bowling by both seamers and spinners followed by wickets at regular intervals crippled India.
An out-of-touch Ajinkya Rahane (13) was the first to depart in the session getting bowled by Morkel, who fooled the batsman as he got the ball to jag back in, to reduce India to 115/4.
Kohli was the next to be dismissed, who despite getting a start was again scalped by Morkel.
Rohit Sharma (2) too didnÂ’t last long, leaving India at a spot of bother at 125/6 after choosing to bat.
But incoming batsmen Jadeja and Saha played positively by taking on the bowlers to all parts in their short innings to help side cross the 200-run mark.
But with the dismissal of Jadeja, the tail-enders fell one after the other without scoring much.
The hosts lead the series 1-0 after winning the first match in Mohali and the second match being washed out in Bengaluru.