Markram's half-century gives SA solid start

After the pacy, bouncy, swinging and seaming conditions in Newlands where not a single moment passed without an incident, the SuperSport Park turned out to be a damp squib. With the city sizzling at almost 30 degree Celsius, the harsh sun makes it a lot hotter here, the overhead conditions werent conducive for swing while the absence of grass ensured there was no lateral movement with the new ball.

There wasnt much pace either with occasional edges falling short of wicketkeeper and slip cordon. These were the ideal conditions for batting and South Africa made most of them by raising 78 for no loss in 27 overs by lunch on the opening day of the second Test here on a packed Saturday. Openers Aiden Markram (51 n.o.) and Dean Elgar (26 n.o.) played contrasting innings as the Indian bowlers toiled hard in testing conditions without any success.

Faf du Plessis won the toss again and not surprisingly decided to bat first. Virat Kohli too said he would have liked to bat first after sounding puzzled at the way the pitch had changed in the last two days. India effected three changes to their side, expectedly bringing in KL Rahul for Shikhar Dhawan and choosing Parthiv Patel in place of the injured wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Ishant Sharma coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was their most successful bowler in Newlands, may have surprised some but it was a perfectly justifiable deci...

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