The second Test between India and South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion is nicely poised as India closed Day 2 on 183/5 in reply to South Africa's 335 on Sunday.
Virat Kohli batted doggedly on a two-paced pitch, and was unbeaten at stumps on 85 along with Hardik Pandya on 11. Murali Vijay also contributed 46 runs in a third-wicket 79-run stand with Kohli.
For South Africa, Morne Morkel, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi all took one wicket each.
Earlier in the day, South Africa resumed their innings on 269/6 and thanks to some casual fielding by the Indian team managed to make 335. Ravichandran Ashwin (4/113) and Ishant Sharma (3/46) shared seven wickets between them in the Proteas innings.
Ishant gave a good account of himself on his return to the starting XI in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose exclusion had drawn widespread criticism for the team mangement on Saturday. Mohammed Shami also had a memorable day as, with the wicket of Maharaj, he became the seventh Indian fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets after Karsan Ghavri, Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan.
Faf du Plessis, who was unbeaten on 24 on Day 1, made the majority of South Africa's runs on Sunday and added 39 runs to his overnight score.
In their reply, India got off to a bad start as both KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara departed early. Rahul, who had replaced Shikhar Dhawan for this game, made 10 before Morkel had him caught and bowled. Soon after Pujara also went back to the dressing room after a first-ball duck following a misunderstanding between him and Vijay, and India found themselves struggling at 28/2.
However, things started to change for the visiting team with the arrival of Kohli to the crease. He and Vijay showed great composure and both played according to the merit of the ball. It appeared a big stand was on the cards as both batsmen looked extremely comfortable against South Africa's bowlers. However, against the run of play, Vijay departed after edging Maharaj through to Quinton de Kock behind the wickets.
Rohit Sharma and Parthiv Patel, playing in this game in place of the injured Wriddhiman Saha, were the next two Indian batsmen to get out. Rohit fell lbw to Rabada for 10, while Patel, after facing quite a few disconcerting overs from Maharaj owing to a couple of rough patches outside his off-stump, succumbed to debutant Ngidi for 19. Thus, he became the tall fast bowler's first Test wicket. Mind you, Ngidi had also run out Pujara earlier in the Indian innings with a direct throw.
At the conclusion of another day of gripping Test cricket in Centurion, there was nothing to choose between both the teams. However, in light of the two-paced nature of the track, South Africa will feel a little better as they still have a significant lead over the tourists.