Hardik Pandya (R) managed to help his team get closer to the Proteas after he performed well with bat and ball on Day two of the first test against India. Photo: BackpagePix
Everyone was nervous about Dale Steyn making his comeback after a year-long absence from Test cricket due to a shoulder injury.
It was not so much that whether his skill had deserted him, but whether in fact he could get through a full Test match unscathed.
He bowled 18.3 overs before disaster struck when Steyn hobbled off with a heel injury which forced Vernon Philander to finish the over.
He went to hospital for a scan, leaving everyone to fear the worst.
Dean Elgar has taken some wonderful catches in the slip cordon, but he also spills just a few too many.
He did it again on Saturday and it was a crucial one too, when Hardik Pandya edged Dale Steyn towards the gully region.
Pandya was on 15 at the time and went on to make 93 to keep India in the game.
What happened, Quinny?
Keshav Maharaj had to wait until the 56th over to get a bowl behind the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse” and Pandya immediately greeted him with a six over mid-wicket.
Maharaj, though, is a wily competitor and tossed the next ball up again. Pandya went charging down the wicket, but swiped wildly to offer Quinton de Kock an easy stumping chance.
The only problem was that De Kock was also deceived by the flight and bounce and the chance went abegging.
The ‘GUN’ cricketer
Hardik Pandja may have limited first-class experience but he certainly is the modern-day, all-action cricketer.
He strikes the ball hard, bowls at a lively pace and is an athletic fielder.
He showed off two of those disciplines yesterday with a sublime innings under extreme pressure.
And just when the game was drifting even further away from India, he managed to burgle two wickets later in the day.
Any captain in world cricket would want a player of his ability in their side.
The ‘Investment Session’
The Proteas often talk about an “investment session” in which they don’t pick up many wickets, but keep the runs to a minimum.
Saturday morning was such a session with India scoring only 48 runs and losing one wicket.
The home side were content with it though, as they struck three quick blows immediately after the lunch interval.
Source: IOL Sport – Cricket
#SAvIND: Pandya could be key for India