Proteas need a bit of magic in Durban today

2013-12-27 08:56

India: 181/1 (Vijay 91*, Pujara 58, Morkel 1/26)

The Proteas will need a magical swing of fortune if they are to challenge India on day two of the test.

Durban’s fickle light brought an early end to proceedings yesterday with the visitors in the driving seat.

India’s dominant position was the result of a superb unbeaten 140-run second wicket stand between Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara.

The ease in which they compiled their runs would be worrying for a team of South Africa’s calibre.

The pitch was more sub-continental than South African in every sense.

It was slow but with consistent bounce – the kind of track they would roll up and put in their pockets for every overseas tour.

As for South Africa, it started to become clear why they avoid playing in Durban.

It could be said that the light saved the Proteas, who were on the back foot for the majority of the game.

Aside from incisive spells from Morne Morkel, who recovered miraculously from an injured ankle, there was no spark, no bite from the rest of the bowling attack.

Dale Steyn has now gone wicketless for 67 overs and not at any stage did he look like taking a wicket, neither did Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis and Robin Peterson.

They seemed to be demoralised by the conditions.

India has cashed in and is set to make a big score.

Pujara and Vijay made batting look easy.

Shikhar Dhawan made a bright start but nicked off in the morning session, snaffled at third slip by Alviro Petersen off Morkel.

It was the only chance that India gave until bad light put an end to proceedings after tea.

In terms of early finishes, Durban’s light has not disappointed, but the fans were hard done by as the light was not as bad as last 30 minutes of the fourth evening of last week’s first test at the Wanderers.

That said, light has always been and will always be a factor when test cricket rolls around to Durban.

Moments of the day

The guard of honour

Jacques Kallis has been a true servant of the South African game and even though he would have loved to play his last test at his beloved Newlands, it is fitting that Kingsmead gets to host his final test because it was here where he made his test debut against England in 1995.

The Sunfoil kids formed a guard of honour as he led the team out to rapturous applause.

Once bitten, twice not shy

Fuelled by beer and hot weather, a streaker in pink pants decided to take a chance and make a dash for the field.

As he ran across, the security guards watched in bemusement as the man made it to Castle Corner, much to the delight of the crowd.

The next streaker was not as lucky: his attempt ended next to the boundary rope.

There was no nonsense from the security guards this time round.

Sign the doll

Dale Steyn is a very jovial fellow and, from time to time, will engage in some banter with fans when he fields on the boundary.

He wasn’t prepared though when he was a handed a doll and asked to sign it.

The fans in Castle Corner chanted: “Sign the doll”, much to the rest of the stadium’s amusement.

But with Steyn being the person he is, he signed the doll with a cheeky smile and the crowd applauded him.

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