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South Africa vs India 2018: Hardik Pandya Shows He Belongs To The Biggest Stage

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India fought back hard with Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar after South Africa seemed to have run away with the first Test match on the second day at New Lands in Cape Town. India eventually folded for 209 runs, but they limited the damage massively after being 92/7 at one stage.
The Proteas are 65/2 at stumps and hold a 142-run lead meaning they have the upper hand in Cape Town. At one side Dale Steyn & Co. were steaming in making life very hard for the tourists and one after the other the middle order collapsed. Pace and bounce were one aspect, but the Proteas built their confidence with sheer patience and grit. Such was the effect they had pinching in four wickets after reducing India to 28/3 at stumps on the first day.
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Limited overs superhero Rohit Sharma found it difficult once again in the longer format away from home and once South Africa had him, they knew the visitors were in for the taking. Cheteshwar Pujara resisted the South Africans for two-and-a-half hours, and it was again the patience of the bowlers that had him lastly fend one to the slips. Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha followed suit to see their side stuttering, but India had a story to script.
Hardik Pandya has been a revelation in the shorter formats off late, and credit to the Indian management who felt he could be set for the biggest test overseas. Pandya should not be just judged by one innings, but he has shown that he belongs to this level and could be a prime asset for India in the coming years. It was an innings of precision and self-belief that saw the youngster play to his tunes and score a defiant 93.

              Runs                Balls                  4/6           Strike Rate
                 93                   95                  14/1                  97.89

He would have liked a hundred, but this innings was of huge substance and will be remembered for many time to come. The 99-run partnership he shared with Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the tone and it got India out of jail. Bhuvi took a lot of time to get off the mark and wasn’t able to score, but that did not hither Pandya and neither it was a source of concern. He played freely and hit the loose balls at ease that stemmed in once the South Africans looked out of a plan.

  1. Pandya scored 93 which was his 2nd highest Test score
  2. He also picked 3 wickets in this Test so far
  3. Shared a defining 99-run partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar
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Pandya’s 93 runs was one of the notable Indian innings overseas outside the sub-continent that determined a fight against one of the best fast-bowling opponents coming in and bowling with a lot of vigour and intensity. His innings was laced with 14 fours and 1 six. A 95-ball 93 for Pandya finally came to an end after he could not do away with an upper-cut shot off Kagiso Rabada, edging the ball to Quinton de Kock.
His driving off front and back foot through the off side was a grand sight and some glorious punch off the back foot, was equally pleasing to the eye. Pandya batted with a sheer control and fluency which lacked in the top order as barring his knock, the rest managed just 102 runs with 14 extras. The four pacers accounted for 10 wickets between them.
OVERS                        MAIDEN                           RUNS                           WICKETS
V Philander                14.3                                  8                                     33                                    3
D Steyn                         17.3                                  6                                     51                                     2
M Morkel                     19                                     6                                      57                                    2
K Rabada                       16.4                                   4                                       34                                      3
During his stay, his free-flowing game slowly allowed Bhuvi to settle in and he chipped in well with a hard-fought 25 runs. His defiance came to an end after nicking a rising away delivery off Morne Morkel. But the duo’s character needs to be lauded showing the top order what they missed in this pitch.
The 24-year-old’s brilliance did not just stop there. He picked South Africa’s both wickets in the 2nd innings and looks like a figure that can keep India hunting for an outside chance to make something out of the game.
Brief Score, 1st Test, Day 2: South Africa (2nd innings) – 65/2 (A Markram 34, Elgar 25) lead India 209/10 (Pandya 93) by 142 runs.

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