Day one of the first test between South Africa and India at Newlands in Cape Town came to an enthralling end, with India losing three quick wickets, including the big wicket of Virat Kohli, to finish the day on 28/3.
The Proteas won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket that was tailor-made for fast bowling, a decision that many questioned, and one that the South African’s were quickly made to rue by the Indians.
Seamer Bhuveneshwar Kumar’s 4/87 ripped through the South African top order, to give Virat Kohli’s side the advantage at the lunch break, before eventually bowling the Proteas out for 286.
AB de Villiers top scored with a counter-attacking 65.
Coming into the match the Proteas opted to go with six batsmen and five bowlers, with Vernon Philander playing the all-rounder role in the side.
Captain Faf du Plessis, and fast bowler Dale Steyn, who sat out the test match against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day last year due to an illness, were included in the side at the expense of Temba Bavuma and Andile Phehlukwayo. Steyn was making his test match return after nearly two years out with a shoulder injury he sustained on the tour of Australia in 2016.
The Proteas didn’t get off to a great start with the bat, they lost their most prolific run scorer in 2017, Dean Elgar, after the first three balls of the day without scoring, before his opening partner Aiden Markram followed him back to the changing room two overs later for 5, both falling to skillful bowling of Kumar.
Kumar wasn’t done yet, as he got the prized wicket of Hashim Amla, out caught behind for three, and the South Africans were reeling at 12 for 3. Enter captain Du Plessis and De Villiers, who fought fire with fire, to put on a partnership of 114, that took the Proteas out of a dangerous position.
The Indians continued to take wickets on day 1, but lower order contributions from Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn took the Proteas over the 250 run mark. They were eventually bowled out for 286.
Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel then struck late in the day, claiming the three wickets of Murali Vijay, Shikar Dhawan and the massive scalp of Virat Kholi to leave the Indians reeling on 28 for 3 at stumps.