New Delhi: It was just another day in office for Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in Bangalore. The South African batsmen, except AB de Villiers, failed to apply themselves against the slow plotters and ended up losing the ground on the opening day of the second cricket Test.
At Stumps, India - thanks to some sensible batting from their openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan - reduced the first innings deficit to 134 runs. With four days play left, if weather permitting, the hosts can dictate the terms. And laying that foundation for yet another winning push came from the spinners.
Having guided India to a deserving win in Mohali in the series openers, the two Ravi's once again toyed with their visitors. Ashwin has been the lynchpin of India attack, but his two early wickets - as early as the eight over - all but planted the doubt in Proteas' self confidence. In fact, it was the earliest a spinner has taken two or more wickets in an over in 1st innings of any Test in the last decade. Some record, some intimidation.
But it was only the start. The 29-year-old off-break bowler ended up picking four wickets. He has already got 12 wickets in the series.
Then, came Jadeja. The man-of the-match from the last match kept true to himself and once again proved why he is such a dangerous bowler in India. For the record, the 26-year-old Saurashtra bowler has so far taken 51 first-class wickets in 2015-16, at an average of 11.54. Superb stuff from someone who fought back from the brink death.
Like his senior spin partner, Jadeja has also picked up 12 wickets so far, helping India's cause against the top-ranked Test side in the world.
With those of Amit Mishra's four scalps in the first Test, Indian spinners have so far taken 30 wickets together as against only two by pace bowlers. One discernible factor which led to their impressive outing is, once again, the Indian condition. Enforcing that factor further, South African slow bowlers also took plenty of wickets in Mohali.
Here, it will be interesting to see how Imran Tahir and his spin partners perform in the next couple of days in Bangalore.