India vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Day 1: Irfan Pathan lauds

With the absence of Virat Kohli in the ongoing second Test, India faced a major batting slugfest against South Africa on day one in Johannesburg. With Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara losing wickets cheaply, Ravichandran Ashwin played a crucial innings that gave hope to the visiting camp. The spinner scored 46 runs in 50 balls and also hit six fours during his innings. Speaking on Star Sports, former cricketer Irfan Pathan lauded the veteran’s contribution and said it was “important, important cricket for the Indian team”.

“In between I thought he might average over 30 because he has the ability to bat. But as far as batting is concerned and to score some runs, he needs to show his way. And his 46 is a very important run.” , said the former all-rounder.

Coming to number. 7, the batsman had to take India from a precarious position with the wicket falling early.

“It came at a time when India were in trouble and one needed to make use of his experience. Ashwin used his experience very well. He just kept on playing the shots as he knew that even a ball would take his wicket and So he needed to play shots that could get him runs”, said Pathan.

“46 is a very important run.”

Ashwin was eventually dismissed by Marco Jensen in the 61st over. After receiving a short delivery, Ashwin drives it down the street for a catch, which was completed by Keegan Pietersen.

After his departure, India quickly lost their tailenders and were bowled out for 202 in 63.1 overs.

Rahane lost his wicket for a golden duck and Pujara could manage only three runs.

Apart from Ashwin, opener KL Rahul played a remarkable knock, registering a half-century.

Johnson was in fine form for the Proteas and took four wickets. Meanwhile, Kagiso Rabada and Duane Olivier took three wickets each.

In reply to 202, South Africa ended the day with 35 for one in 18 overs at stumps. The hosts lost the wicket of Aiden Markram in the final session with Mohammed Shami sending him back to the pavilion.

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South Africa are now trailing by 167 runs.

On the second day, the visitors will aim to put more pressure on the batsmen and try to restrict them to less-par totals.

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