Rabada removes Rohit in testing morning


India 76 for 4 (Pujara 26*, Ashwin 12*, Philander 1-14, Rabada 1-15) trail South Africa 286 by 210 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details (Viewers in the Indian subcontinent can watch highlights of the Test here)

“His veins were about to pop as he celebrated.” Normally the bowler who draws that statement is Dale Steyn. And while he has started to look every bit South Africa’s bowling leader, it was his protege who won the first mention of it in the Newlands Test. Kagiso Rabada and his sheer pace upset India’s discipline on the second morning of a match that is beyond compelling. His third ball of the day was clocked at 146 kph. It beat the splice of the bat on its way to the wicketkeeper. In light of that, there may be sense in playing him off the back foot. But, he is just as adept as pitching the ball up, and has sensational speed through the air. Rohit Sharma found that out the hard way when he was late to bring the bat down and was out lbw in the 18th over of the morning.

In the time, India had made 29 runs with great difficulty. And that may well be the difference between the two sides. Vernon Philander began the day with five successive maidens. Steyn came ambling in and delivered outswingers in the corridor just as effortlessly as he did bouncers at the head. Morne Morkel seems to be pushing through his action better; the snap of his wrist has been more palpable and those awkward rising deliveries have come with greater frequency.

Considering all that, Cheteshwar Pujara did beautifully to last the session. Eighteen of his 26 runs have come behind square on the leg side, indicating he has been on the lookout for anything on the pads. He didn’t care to press too far forward. He barely put any force behind his shots. And he wouldn’t go near a ball outside the off stump with a ten foot pole.

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