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India lose top-order in tough conditions, take lunch at 91 for | Cricket

Centurion, Dec 26 (PTI) South Africa pacers made full use of extra bounce on offer to leave India precariously placed at 91 for 3 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test, here on Tuesday.

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Kagiso Rabada (1/15) bowled a probing opening spell to get rival captain Rohit Sharma (5) and allowed debutant left-arm pacer Nandre Burger (2/23) to go flat out and get Yashasvi Jaiswal (17) and Shubman Gill (2) in quick succession.

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India were tottering at 24 for 3 within the first hour.

Virat Kohli (33 batting) got a massive reprieve when he was on four as Tony de Zorzi dropped a dolly at square leg off Burger. India’s premier batter then carried on the repair work with Shreyas Iyer (31 batting), who hung on gamely despite being troubled by deliveries that took off slightly from back of length.

Iyer was also dropped on his individual score of 4 by Marco Jansen at point off Rabada.

The duo added 67 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket on a track where no batter would feel settled as there would always be a delivery that will kick-up and have one’s ‘number’ written on it.

Kohli had four boundaries to his credit while Iyer had three hits to the fence. The off-drive off Jansen was his best shot.

At the toss, home skipper Temba Bavuma took the expected decision of bowling first and his bowlers made the best use of the conditions in the first hour of the match.

The compulsive puller that Indian captain is, his opposite number Bavuma had to station a long leg like all international skippers deploy across formats.

Having bowled in and around off-stump, Rabada dug one short but the height was just above waist which allowed Rohit to take the bait as he went for the pull.

Burger standing at least 10 metres from the long-leg boundary rope had to just complete the formality.

Young Jaiswal initially played close to his body. He clipped Rabada through mid-wicket and also square cut Burger on the rise.

Bowling slightly on the fourth stump channel, the left-arm paceman slightly altered his line and pitched one full on the off-stump. The ball held its line and enticed Jaiswal to go for a drive and the nick was taken by keeper Kyle Verreynne.

But the delivery that Burger bowled to dismiss Gill was a classic set-up as he kept the stylish right-hander quiet with slightly back-of-length deliveries on the middle-leg line, not giving him any room to play on the off-side.

Just like New Zealand left-armer Neil Wagner relentlessly bowls the rib-cage line to right-handers, Burger changed his tactic and kept one right below Gill’s arm-pit and the batter didn’t have enough reaction time to prevent it from brushing his gloves and go into the keeper’s gloves.

While Kohli and Iyer both led charmed lives, India still are very much in the woods after the first session.

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