The second Test between India and South Africa is nearing its conclusion within the first two days. A total of 23 wickets fell on the first day itself, prompting the fans and pundits of the game to contemplate if the Newlands pitch had demons in it that prompted such a batting collapse. Mohammed Siraj, who took 6 wickets in the first innings, addressed media after the end of play on Day 1, and was understandably asked about his assessment of the pitch. The India pacer, however, said that he didn’t think it was a 55-all-out pitch when he took a look at it ahead of the start of play in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“When I saw the wicket in morning, it didn’t feel it was a 55-all out wicket. It was quite sunny, so I didn’t expect the pitch to assist that much. Also, bowling is all about partnerships. There was consistent pressure from Jasprit Bumrah at the other end. He didn’t get many wickets but he created a lot of pressure,” said Siraj in the press conference.
Siraj also revealed his plan as he stuck to keeping the same line and length instead of experimentation in a bid to reap the sort of rewards he did on Day 1.
“On these wickets, where ball is doing so much, often bowlers tend to think, ‘let me try and bowl an outswinger darting from leg to off or get one to bend back from angle but one should just stick to one line. If you hit areas, wickets will come automatically. If you try many things, you can get confused,” said Siraj.
Mohammed Siraj’s fiery spell of 6/15 destroyed Proteas’ top and middle order, while Jasprit Bumrah (2/25) and Mukesh Kumar (0/2) also took wickets.
In their first innings, India was 153/4 at one point, with solid scores coming from Virat Kohli (46 in 59 balls, with six fours and a six), Rohit Sharma (39 in 50 balls, with seven fours) and Shubman Gill (36 in 55 balls, with five fours), but a Lungi Ngidi three-wicket over sunk India to 153 all out in 34.5 overs.
In their second innings, SA ended the day at 62/3, with Aiden Markram (36*) doing the bulk of the scoring. Skipper Dean Elgar managed 12 runs in his final Test innings. Mukesh got two while Bumrah got one wicket.