Mohammed Shami puts India in control as 18 wickets fall in Centurion Test

Visitors lead by 146 runs with nine wickets in hand after pacer Shami picks up five against South Africa on Tuesday

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami celebrated his 200th Test scalp with a five-wicket haul as India gained the upper hand in the first Test against South Africa in Centurion on Tuesday.

The third day of the Test, effectively the second after Monday's washout, saw a hectic start as South African quick Lungi Ngidi picked up 6-71, sending India from 272-3 to 327 all out.

Centurion KL Rahul and the rest of the batsmen could not do much as Protea quicks exploited the extra pace in the pitch. Then, when India got the ball in the hand, pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was forced out of the attack after twisting his ankle in the 11th over of the innings, having taken the wicket of Dean Elgar in his first.

With the bowling attack weakened considerably, Shami took the extra burden in his stride and put the visitors in the driver's seat. He finished with figures of 5-44, restricting the Proteas to 197 to hand Virat Kohli's team an invaluable lead of 130, which India extended to 146 by stumps for the loss of one wicket.

Mayank Agarwal (four) was the only wicket to fall in India's second innings as he edged debutant left-arm seamer Marco Jansen to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Shami led the Indian attack expertly, eking out every ounce of assistance from the helpful conditions. His haul included the wicket of South Africa's top-scorer Temba Bavuma, who made 52 before edging to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

Bavuma put on 72 for the fifth wicket with De Kock (34) after the hosts had been reduced to 32-4. South Africa's lower order chipped in with useful contributions to cut down the deficit.

All Indian seamers were among the wickets, Bumrah (2-16) weighing in despite being forced to leave the field. He returned late on to pick up the last wicket. However, his extended absence had already had its impact, with India forced to continue with the expensive Shardul Thakur and give additional overs to spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Earlier, Ngidi, who took a career-best 6-39 on debut against India at Centurion in 2018, helped South Africa claim the last seven Indian wickets for the addition of only 55 runs.

The tourists were skittled within another 15.3 overs after fiery fast bowling from Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada (3-72), as well as poor shot selection from the batsmen.

Opener Rahul could only add a single run before he was out for 123, caught by wicketkeeper De Kock as he attempted a pull off Rabada.

The Indian tail-enders tried to hit their way out of trouble, but wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. By the end of the day 18 wickets had fallen, highlighting the importance of India's runs on the first day.

Updated: December 28th 2021, 5:00 PM