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SA vs Ind, 2nd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: Thakur's 7-61 brings India back; Visitors 58 ahead

Shardul Thakur picks up 7 wickets for 61 runs as South Africa are all out for 229 runs.

SA vs Ind, 2nd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: Shardul Thakur's 7-61 brings India back; Team India 58 ahead on Day 2
Shardul Thakur registers 7-61 on Day 2, best bowling figures by Indian pacer in SA (©AFP/GettyImages)

Brief Scores: India 85-2 (C Pujara 35*, M Jansen 1-18) & 202 (KL Rahul 50, R Ashwin 46, M Jansen 4-31, K Rabada 3-64) leads South Africa 229 (K Petersen 62, T Bavuma 51, S Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs at Stumps on Day 2

After an impressive day with ball in hand restricting India to just over 200 in the first innings, hosts South Africa looked to extend their grab on the game with a heavy lead on Day 2; on the flipside of the coin, India aimed to take early wickets to reduce the Proteas to a low score.

It would be another day when the Indian bowlers had to step on the gas to save their side. An oft-repeated chain of events that has catapulted India to the top of the Test rankings.

The 22-yards at Wanderers on Day 2

After a thunderstorm at dawn, the sun was shining brightly in Johannesburg to set stage for the game. The strip had quickened up a bit from yesterday. There were some good areas to exploit as a bowler; the cracks would produce some variable bounce as well as movement off the surface. All in all, a tough batting wicket.

Session 1: Thakur produces magic to take three wickets for India, Peterson fifty takes SA to 102/4

India began the session with their prime bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, asking several questions to both South African overnight batters. Even though, not many runs were scored, Keegan Petersen and Dean Elgar stayed in the middle and picked up runs later against a gingerly running Mohammad Siraj who seemed to be struggling with his hamstring.

Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced early in the attack but the batting pair kept on frustrating the Indians. At last, the visitor’s rescue man Shardul Thakur was introduced into the attack. He first found the edge of defensive Elgar to send him back for a 120-ball 28. New Protea star Petersen notched up his maiden half-century but fell soon to Thakur to a wide ball outside the off stump.

At the stroke of lunch, Thakur took Rassie van der Dussen with the right-hander edging one behind the stumps; even though close replays suggested that the ball had bounced in front of keeper Rishabh Pant.

Read More: SA vs Ind, 2nd Test, Freedom Trophy 2021-22: India slump to 202 against Protea pace attack; SA 35-1

Session 2: Thakur’s maiden fifer lifts India after Bavuma’s fifty; South Africa 191/7

The post-lunch session was quite a carbon-copy of the first two-hour period. The two new batters, Temba Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne, stitched out a solid partnership of 60 runs to take the home side out of jail. The Indian bowlers did try their best but after a long time, the mindset and the energy in the field felt a bit flat.

Captain KL Rahul was looking for some immediate inspiration from the bowlers to get India back on track and again Shardul Thakur had been given the onus. He broke the rigid partnership by sending opposition wicketkeeper Verreynne back with a straight ball trapping him LBW. Temba Bavuma reached his 17th half-century in quite an aggressive mode but failed to continue tickling on the leg side. In this process, Shadul Thakur became the 6th Indian bowler to take a 5-wicket haul at Wanderers. Shami came back to dismiss Kagiso Rabada later for a duck.

Session 3: South Africa bundled out with a lead of 27 runs

The tailenders ba