3rd Test: Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar help India fightback against South Africa

Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 08:42 IST | Anand Vasu

India hit back at South Africa through Jasprit Bumrah (5-54) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-44) as hosts are bowled out for 194 at Johannesburg; India lose stand-in opener Parthiv for 16

India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (left) celebrates the dismissal of South Africas batsman AB de Villiers during the second day of the third and final Test at the Wanderers ground in Johannesburg yesterday; (inset) A disappointed De Villiers walks off with five against his name. PIC/AFP, PTI
India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (left) celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's batsman AB de Villiers during the second day of the third and final Test at the Wanderers ground in Johannesburg yesterday; (inset) A disappointed De Villiers walks off with five against his name. PIC/AFP, PTI 

For the third time in three Test matches India found themselves in a position so good that fans had to pinch themselves to make sure that reality did not differ from dreams. After bowling SA out for 204, conceding a slender and inconsequential lead of seven, India ended the second day on 49 for one yesterday. The rains that had been predicted for each day of this Test stayed away once more even as wickets continued to tumble. Eleven fell on the first day and 10 on the second, the pitch continuing to assist fast bowlers of all kinds and hues.

But, it was not the pitch, but the magnificence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar that left an indelible impression on the second day. Getting the ball to sing, rather than talk, Bhuvneshwar cut through South Africa's batsmen. First, he made Dean Elgar look like an amateur, which he most certainly is not, and then he did to AB de Villiers what few bowlers can.

Setting up one of the great batsmen of modern cricket with a succession of away going deliveries, Bhuvneshwar then produced the perfect inswinger. The ball started well wide of off, drawing De Villiers across, and as he committed to the straight drive the Kookaburra tailed in late, beating the inside edge and flattening the middle stump.

Had it not been for an industrious 30 from night watchman Kagiso Rabada, and the calm and control of Hashim Amla, who adapted his technique perfectly to score 61, SA would have been in deep trouble. Faf du Plessis shouldered arms to Jasprit Bumrah, Quinton de Kock's horror run with the bat continued and once Amla was sent on his way, the innings imploded. From 169 for 7, only 25 runs were added, and Bumrah ran through the tail to end with 5 for 54. India sent out Parthiv Patel to open with M Vijay, and for a time the tactic appeared to work, the left-hander slashing the ball for brisk runs.

But, Vernon Philander drew the inside edge, which bobbed up to the slips cordon off the pad for Aiden Markram to dive forward and catch. KL Rahul joined his opening partner out in the middle and the two ensured that no further damage was done. A lead of 42 will ensure that India does not have a sleepless night, but it certainly won't guarantee sweet dreams. Plenty of work remains, especially in winning the big moments, if India do not want to end this series empty-handed.

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