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Much of the talk on the sidelines on day one surrounded Kohli’s choice of playing XI. The decision to replace an in-form Bhuvneshwar with Ishant Sharma had raised eye-brows.
Bhuvi’s absence, though, made an immediate impact. The man who invariably gets a breakthrough with the new ball is missing. There was pace and bounce in the track, and the hope was that Ishant could find some purchase off the wicket. The Delhi bowler did bowl a tight line through the morning session, however nothing dramatic that could put the batsmen in distress.
South Africa have galloped to a strong start. After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the hosts have dominated proceedings. With a brown wicket to work with, India’s pacers have not shown the same ferocity as they did in Newlands.
Bumrah did get Elgar to sky one in the air, but Vijay made a meal of it at the boundary line. Other than that, India’s bowlers did not quite enough chances to inspire confidence.
In the first Test, India’s time in the field was propped up by the fall of early wickets. Bhuvi was the architect in the first innings and gave them a bright start on day one of the tour. He contributed well in the second essay as well. While the conditions at Centurion are not the same as in Newlands, it would not have hurt India’s case if they hard their in-form bowler in the mix today.
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