Jasprit Bumrah bowled India to a slender first innings lead before South Africa hit back on Day 2 in what looks set to be a thrilling series-deciding third Test at Newlands.
Bumrah took 5-42, his seventh five-wicket haul in Tests, as South Africa were bowled out for 210 — giving India a lead of 13 — on Wednesday but the Proteas hit back by removing both Indian openers.
The tourists were 57-2 in their second innings at the close, with a lead of 70, on a seaming wicket that is offering plenty of assistance to the bowlers and has seen 22 wickets fall on the opening two days.
Bumrah gave a masterclass of seam bowling in the South African innings as he got the ball to move both ways and leap off the surface. “There was a phase in the middle [of the day] when not a lot was happening, but we stayed patient,” he told reporters.
“It does seam a lot more with the new ball, and shapes more. But as you spend more time out there the seam goes down and it gets relatively easier [to bat]. When bowling with the new ball, you have to make the most of it.
“I was trying to focus on the things I can do and generate a good rhythm, and when I am in that frame of mind I usually have a lot of fun and enjoy my game.”
Keegan Petersen scored a career-best 72 for the home side but played almost a lone hand in the innings with the next highest score Temba Bavuma’s 28.
South Africa, though, seemed well-placed until Mohammed Shami made a double strike shortly before tea. With batting conditions seemingly easier in bright sunshine than on the overcast Day 1, South Africa reached 159-4, with Petersen and Bavuma both batting relatively comfortably.
But the consistently accurate Shami (2-39) produced a ball which climbed on Bavuma, forcing an edge which was taken by India captain Virat Kohli at second slip.
Two balls later, Kyle Verreynne prodded at a good-length delivery from Shami and was caught behind for a duck, leaving South Africa with no more recognised batsmen.
Bumrah followed by bowling Marco Jansen for seven with the last ball before tea and then had Petersen caught at first slip in the second over after the interval. Umesh Yadav (2-64) and Shardul Thakur (1-37) were also among the wicket-takers for India.
But South Africa fought back with both Indian openers gone quickly as Mayank Agarwal (seven) was caught by Dean Elgar off Kagiso Rabada and KL Rahul (10) was grabbed by Aiden Markram at slip off Jansen.
Kohli is not out 14 in an unbeaten partnership of 33 with Cheteshwar Pujara (nine) and they will attempt to take the game away from the home team on the third morning as they chase a first ever series win in South Africa.
“We will keep an eye on how the wicket is going, but it is about keeping the disciplines up, bowling as a unit and applying the pressure by giving less boundary opportunities,” Bumrah added.