India 215; Proteas 11 for 2
Morne Morkel and Simon Harmer bamboozled India with pace and spin on a tricky wicket but South Africa also suffered early blows in the third Test in Nagpur on Wednesday.
Off-spinner Harmer claimed four wickets for 78 and fast bowler Morkel took three for 35 as the Proteas bowled India out for 215 in the post-tea session of the first day's play.
South Africa, seeking a series-levelling win, had plodded to 11 for two by stumps, setting the stage for an exciting battle ahead on a dusty and dry pitch at the VCA stadium.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had opener Stiaan van Zyl caught in the slips for a duck before nightwatchman Imran Tahir was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for four.
At stumps Dean Elgar was unbeaten on seven and skipper Hashim Amla had yet to score.
India were reduced to 125-6 after winning the toss, before the last four wickets added 90 runs that included a 48-run stand for the seventh wicket between Jadeja (34) and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (32).
Opener Murali Vijay top-scored with 40, but none of the other five specialist batsmen crossed 22 on a first-day pitch that already shows cracks and continues to deteriorate fast.
Morkel made up for the absence of his unfit speed partner Dale Steyn to negate India's initial advantage of batting first, but then himself limped off the field while bowling his 17th over in the final session.
- 'Test won't last five days' -
Harmer said he was happy to bowl on a pitch that helps slow bowlers and predicted the Test would be over before the fifth day.
"This wicket is not prepared to last five days, there is bound to be a result," the off-spinner said.
"In South Africa we prepare pitches that suit our type of cricket. So this does not surprise us at all. But being a spinner, I like bowling on such wickets.”
SCORES IN BRIEF
INDIA: First innings 215 all out (Vijay 40, Pujara 21, Kohli 22, Saha 32, Jadeja 34; Morkel 3-35, Harmer 4-78)
SOUTH AFRICA: First innings 11 for 2 (Elgar 7 not out, Tahir 4; Ashwin 1-5, Jadeja 1-2)