Spinners Day Out: Elgar dominates Day 1 at Mohali Test, Ashwin, Jadeja strike for India

Mohali: Twelve wickets fell in a day on the first day of the Mohali Test on Thursday. Batting first India received a jolt as South African part time bowler Dean Elgar picked up four wickets to send India packing for 201. But India, too, struck with vengeance as R Ashwin and Ravidra Jadeja got a scalp each to bring India back in the final session, as South Africa were 28 for the loss of two wickets.

A report in The Hindu says that the Indians did not fancy Dean Elgar as a bowler but he did abundantly enough at the IS Bindra Stadium here to leave the Indian batsmen in a tangle of sorts with his left-arm spin, which looked friendly to begin with and assumed menacing proportions as the ball did a few things after coming out of Elgar’s palm.

“That India posted 201 was principally the work of M. Vijay. His compact show was essential to India’s recovery as Elgar, noted more for his batting, sliced through the opposition with four wickets. And then South Africa fared no different, losing two wickets for 28. Spinners R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shared the spoils with the latter claiming Faf du Plessis with his stock ball, the one that does not turn. He had foxed Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen with similar deliveries on his debut at Nagpur in 2012,” says the report.

According to a report in Calcutta Telegraph, had it not been for opener Vijay, the Indian total would have been much lesser. “His innings of 75 off 136 balls with a dozen boundaries was an example of patience and character. He knew the wicket was not batsmen friendly and did not engage in adventurous ways. He opened up only in the latter part of his innings and was out while going for a sweep against Simon Harmer. Pity only a few hundred people were present in the stands to appreciate Vijay's fine innings.”

“Jadeja, who has returned to the team after a long break, did a good job with his knock of 38. But more dramatic was the way he dismissed Faf du Plessis in his first delivery. Du Plessis left the ball and was bowled. Jadeja understandably couldn't stop celebrating. Apart from the 63-run second-wicket partnership between Vijay and Pujara, India did not have another good phase during their innings. Things worsened after lunch when Elgar dismissed Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha in the 38th and the 40th overs. Both were identically dismissed, caught by Amla at first slip. While Rahane made 15 during his 48-ball knock, Saha was yet to open his account,” said the Calcutta Telegraph report.

Meanwhile, quoting India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar, The New Indian Express writes that despite seeing his team being bowled out for 201, Bangar vouched that the pitch isn’t a bad one. “It is a very challenging wicket. I am not saying it is good or bad. Run making is not easy and it looks 201 on board, but it is a lot more than that. You don’t want to see flat wickets where spectators have fun watching runs being made. Bowlers should also get a chance and on this wicket bowlers have an upper hand. Batsmen should cope with it,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Africa opener Dean Elgar, who accounted for four wickets in eight overs with his part-time left-arm spin, was scathing in his assessment, says the report. “It is not a very good cricket wicket. It is a result wicket which is expected when you come here. It is already looking like a Day 4 wicket. But honestly speaking, we didn’t expect it to crumble so much,” he said.