‘Something wrong’ at Newlands after 23 wickets fall on first day of 2nd Test

Virat Kohli in action for India. File photo

South African batting consultant Ashwell Prince said “there was something wrong” at Newlands after an extraordinary 23 wickets fell on the first day of the second Test against India on Wednesday.

South Africa were shot out for 55 and were struggling at 62 for three in their second innings, still 36 behind after India were bowled out for 153.

Prince gave credit to Indian opening bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah but said conditions were greatly in favour of the bowlers.

Siraj took a career-best six for 15 in the first innings as South Africa were bowled out before lunch after winning the toss.

“I’ve never seen the pitch that quick on day one,” said Prince, who played 11 of his 66 Test matches, as well as most of his domestic career, at Newlands and is currently coach of Western Province, based at the ground.

“As a batsman you don’t mind pace in the wicket if the bounce is consistent but the bounce was a little bit inconsistent.

“You expect a bit of seam movement on day one but seam movement with inconsistent bounce is a different situation.

“Sometimes it happens that a great bowling line-up bowls out a team cheaply but if both batting line-ups can’t bat there’s something wrong.”

Prince said the conditions had taken South Africa by surprise, prompting them to bat in bright sunshine.

“There was a bit of grass on the pitch but the tendency at Newlands is for it to take spin later on so it made sense to bat. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen how the pitch would play.”

Siraj stars 

Siraj, meanwhile, said maintaining control was crucial on a pitch which assisted him.

“There was good communication from the wicketkeeper (KL Rahul) about the right lengths to bowl,” said Siraj.

South Africa’s first innings total was their lowest in almost 92 years, since they were bowled out for 36 and 45 by Australia on a rain-affected pitch in Melbourne in February 1932.

It was the lowest total by any team in a Test against India, beating 62 by New Zealand in Mumbai in December 2021.

Siraj bowled superbly in an unchanged nine-over spell.

India cruised into the lead in 9.4 overs, before the afternoon drinks break.

The tourists seemed set for a substantial advantage when they reached 153 for four, with the experienced Virat Kohli and KL Rahul at the crease.

But the remaining six wickets fell for no runs in 11 balls.

Lungi Ngidi had Rahul caught behind and took two more wickets in the same over.

Kagiso Rabada had Kohli caught at second slip for 46 in the next over, Mohammed Siraj was run out and Prasidh Krishna caught at second slip.

Stand-in South African captain Dean Elgar was dismissed twice on the first day of his final Test match.

Elgar was out for four and 12 in an ignominious end to a Test batting career which yielded 5,347 runs in 86 matches at an average of 37.92.

Elgar, who made a big century in the first Test, was bowled by Siraj in the first innings and caught by Kohli at first slip off Mukesh Kumar in the second.

The Indian players ran to shake his hand as he reluctantly left the field after his second dismissal.

Elgar’s opening partner Aiden Markram made just two in the first innings but was more in command in the second innings and was unbeaten on 36 at the close.

However, Tony de Zorzi and debutant Tristan Stubbs both fell for one run each.

South Africa won the first Test in Centurion by an innings and 32 runs in a match which lasted only three days.

The current match seems destined to be shorter.

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