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South Africa beat India by 72 runs to take 1-0 lead 

NEW DELHI: India were bundled out for 135 with Vernon Philander returning career-best figures of 6/42, as the visitors hurtled to a 72-run defeat against South Africa on Day 4 of the first Test in Cape Town. On a manic Monday, 18 wickets fell in just over two sessions with South Africa taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The Test changed complexion inside two sessions with India skittling South Africa on 130 in the morning session after they resumed on overnight total of 65. Their lead was thus limited to 207 runs. But after the lunch break, the hosts turned the tables with their pacers running through visitor’s batting line-up like a hot knife through butter.

They lost their first seven wickets for 82 before the pair of R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got together to offer some resistance. Together they added 49 runs for the eighth wicket giving some home to a morose Indian dressing room. Philander blew away those flickering hopes in one over as he got rid of Ashwin (35), Mohammed Shami (4) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) in the space of four deliveries to finish with a six-wicket haul.

They chase began on a positive note with the openers adding 30 runs. However, India lost both the same total. Shikhar Dhawan (16) was out in a similar manner to his dismissal in the first innings – a leading edge off Morne Morkel being was easily caught by substitute fielder Chris Morris. Murali Vijay successfully reviewed two decisions, both against Vernon Philander before falling to the same bowler. He ran out of luck when when AB de Villiers took a brilliant catch in the slips to send him on way back to the dressing room on 13. Morkel then also got rid of Cheteshwar Pujara (4) cheaply which brought India captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma together with the scorecard reading 39/3.

They seem to have settled in, taking the total past the 50-run mark. Philander, the best bowler on show, kept troubling with a nagging line. He kept bowling outside off and then brought one back that broke Kohli’s resistance as he was trapped lbw on 28. Rohit was dropped on 9 but added just one more to his tally before chopping one back on the stumps to become Philander’s third victim. Allrounder Hardik Pandya failed to repeat his first innings heroics after being caught off Rabada on 1. Wriddhiman Saha fell at the brink of tea with the home team edging closer to victory.

The ongoing Test has been sprinting at a breath-taking pace with the balance shifting from one team to another session after session. Before pushing India on the backfoot, it was the home team who were left in the lurch after the fourth morning of the Test brought with it a remarkable turnaround. The Indian pacers made a short work of the South African batsmen as they were bowled out for 130 in their second innings after being 65/2 when the play resumed. India, who were playing catch up for the better portion of the ongoing contest, thus limited their lead to 207 runs.

Shami triggered the collapse with the wicket of Hashim Amla as he was caught brilliantly by Rohit in the gully. The decision was referred to the third umpire after the soft signal was given as out and the replay confirmed that Amla had to walk back to the dressing room without adding to his total of 4. Nightwatchman Rabada did not last long after being caught by Kohli who wildly celebrated the dismissal by throwing the ball back on the turf.

Debutant Jasprit Bumrah joined the fun with a peach of a delivery as South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was taken aback with the bounce and gloved it to be out caught behind for a five-ball duck. The hosts had lost half their side for 82 and in walked Quinton de Kock who counterattacked with two fours but soon joined the others in the dressing room after Bumrah had him out caught behind on 8.

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