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Ashwin making a fresh beginning in the series

14 January 2018

The late drama, though, and South Africa's careless end to the day gave India a way back into the test and possibly the three-match series after going 1-0 down in Cape Town and starting the game in Centurion on the back foot.

Cruising at 246/3, the Proteas then wobbled with two suicidal runouts plaguing what had been an impressive day at the office up until then. "We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things", Kohli's sarcasm at the pre-match conference was not lost on anyone.

Cricket - India v South Africa - Second Test match - Centurion Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa - January 13, 2018.

Both of those knocks oozed quality and the Indian bowlers - particularly the seamers - were made to toil on a day that saw temperatures rising to the mid-30s. He has done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home.

Still with a fair amount of work to do in the field on Sunday, India's character will be tested as they look to wrap up the innings and claw their way back into the series.

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Du Plessis finished on 25 off 77 balls, which included three boundaries, while Maharaj remained undefeated on 10 off 23 deliveries, which included two boundaries.

South Africa must also identify their replacement for Dale Steyn, with Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi and Chris Morris in the running for that honour.

Markram made 94 off 150 balls and hit 15 fours.

Markram's timing was crisp, and in front of his parents and his home crowd in his city of birth, he looked like he could bat all day.

Ashwin had troubled the left-handed Elgar in the first session and had a close call for caught behind turned down shortly before lunch. Their bowlers took 20 wickets, but the only part when we were a little bit better was we got more runs in the first innings. Amla then put on 47 runs with du Plessis, and in doing so, scored his 36th Test half-century off 99 balls. "What matters is what we are going to do from tomorrow onwards to try and win this Test match", Kohli put up a courageous front as he signed off.

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With a 29th Test ton firmly in his sights, Amla dropped a ball from Hardik Panya onto the leg side and didn't look immediately interested in a run. That moment was enough; Pandya sprinted across in his follow-through, swooped on the ball, spun around, and fired a direct hit at the bowler's end.

Two balls later, de Kock edged Ashwin to India captain Virat Kohli at slip, with Kohli setting off on a vigorous celebration that took him right to the other end of the pitch.

Du Plessis was at the centre of the next run-out, too, except this time he was the one not interested in a single.

Vernon Philander also ran himself out for 0.

The early stages of the Test match will be key for both sides, both sets of openers will want to achieve better results and this may yet prove to be their best chance for big runs in this series.

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Ashwin making a fresh beginning in the series