New Delhi | India were on the back-foot losing two quick wickets after lunch on the first day of the fourth and final cricket Test against South Africa here Thursday.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan fell lbw to Dane Piedt for 33, and Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled by Kyle Abbott for 14 in the next over, putting India under pressure.
Captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rhane are involved in a rescue effort for the fourth wicket. India were 93 for 3 when reports last came in.
Earlier, winning the toss, India decided to bat. Shikhar Dhawan looked in good touch during his unbeaten innings of 31 as India made a cautious start, reaching 60 for one against South Africa at lunch.
Dhawan’s 31 came off 71 balls with the help of four boundaries, while Cheteshwar Pujara hit the only six of the session.
For South Africa, off-spinner Dane Piedt, playing his first Test of the series, removed in-form Murali Vijay for 12.
This was the fourth time in the series when skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and immediately opted to make first use of the Kotla track.
It was a sedate start by the Indian openers as Vijay and Dhawan scored 29 in the first 15 overs. The typical slow nature of the Kotla track prevented the openers from making free-flowing strokeplay.
It was in the 13th over that Dhawan drove off-spinner Piedt through wide of mid-on for the first boundary. In the next over bowled by Abbott, the left-hander pushed one firmly through the extra cover region to collect his second boundary.
Vijay was lucky to get a reprieve on personal score of 10 when Kyle Abbott delivery, which saw him edge one to AB de Villiers at second slip, was rightly ruled ‘no-ball’ by the third umpire CK Nandan.
However, India’s most consistent batsman, who looked scratchy from the start, could not capitalize on it. After being hit in the stomach region by an incoming delivery from Abbott, the Tamil Nadu opener uncharacteristically pushed a straighter one from Piedt to find Hashim Amla pouch one at the first slip. His 84-minute stay yielded only 12 runs as the first wicket fell at 30.
Dhawan continued to play his shots as he square drove Morkel in his second spell for his third boundary.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s first assertive shot was a deliberate glide past Amla at first slip off Piedt’s bowling to get his first boundary. The 50 came in the 25th over.
Dhawan then played the best stroke of the morning session. A deft late cut off Piedt’s bowling to got him his fourth boundary.
Pujara also grew in confidence as Imran Tahir’s loopy full toss was dispatched disdainfully over deep mid-wicket for the first six of the match.
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