JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's top order batsmen collapsed against India's fast bowlers on a dramatic second day of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday. South Africa were 213 for six at the close, 67 runs behind India's 280 all out on a day when 11 wickets fell for 228 runs. Ishant Sharma led an impressive three-pronged Indian pace attack, taking three for 64. It was Sharma who sparked a South African collapse in which five wickets fell for 16 runs after tea. The hosts had progressed to 130 for one when Hashim Amla padded up to a ball, which swung back in and clipped the top of his off stump.
South African stalwart Jacques Kallis was next in – and fell first ball, leg before wicket to a full delivery from the tall Sharma. Kallis, who turned 38 in October, has endured a lean run since making 50 against Pakistan at the same venue in February. His Test scores since then have been 7, 2, 21, 5, 0, 7 and 0. Without addition to the score, South African captain Graeme Smith was leg before to Zaheer Khan for a battling 68. Smith had seldom looked comfortable during his 111-ball innings and was dropped at first slip off Khan when he had 19. When he was eventually dismissed it was the seventh time he had fallen to Khan in Tests. JP Duminy made only two before edging Mohammed Shami to first slip and AB de Villiers was leg before to Shami two balls later after making 13.
Five wickets had fallen in the space of 38 balls as India's bowlers, maintaining a full length and bowling with discipline, did to South Africa's top batsmen what the highly-rated South African fast bowlers had failed to do against the Indian top order. Faf du Plessis and Philander steadied the South African innings with an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 67. Du Plessis defended doggedly to finish the day on 17 not out off 55 balls, while Philander had more of the strike and played with more freedom to make 48 not out off 76 deliveries.
Du Plessis was dropped on 17 shortly before the close when he edged Shami to second slip where Rohit Sharma put down a regulation chance. Sharma was warned twice by umpire Rod Tucker for running on to the ‘danger area’ of the pitch between wicket and wicket. A further warning would mean he would be taken out of the attack. South Africa's was the second significant collapse of the day. Philander and Morne Morkel earlier ripped through India's lower order batsmen as the tourists lost their last five wickets for 16 runs.
Resuming at 255 for five in heavily overcast conditions after overnight and early morning rain, Ajinkya Rahane and Mahendra Singh Dhoni made cautious progress against tight bowling from Dale Steyn, Philander and Morkel. Only nine runs were scored, including three leg byes and just three scoring shots, before Morkel made the breakthrough with the last ball of the ninth over of the day when Dhoni was caught behind for 19. Four balls later, Rahane went the same way against Philander for 47. Zaheer Khan went back on his stumps and was palpably leg before wicket to the next ball. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami were bowled by Philander and Morkel respectively, both without scoring, leaving Ravichandran Ashwin stranded on 11 not out. Philander finished with four for 61 after taking three for six in six overs on Thursday and Morkel took three for 34 in 23 overs.
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