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Rahane rescues India after Dane Piedt dominates with four-wicket haul

Ajinkya Rahane scored an unbeaten 89 for India on day one of the fourth Test against South Africa in Delhi.
Ajinkya Rahane scored an unbeaten 89 for India on day one of the fourth Test against South Africa in Delhi.
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 231-7 (Rahane 89no) v South Africa
Fourth Test, Delhi, day one

Ajinkya Rahane compiled a well-paced unbeaten knock of 89 runs to help India go past 200 after South Africa picked up seven wickets on the first day of the fourth Test in Delhi.

Having won the toss, India opted to bat first on a hard pitch with cracks in it, the hosts deciding to draft in Umesh Yadav in place of Amit Mishra.

South Africa made three changes by roping in Temba Bavuma, Kyle Abbott and Dane Piedt in place of Stiaan Van Zyl, Kagiso Rabada and Simon Harmer.

South Africa started by bowling disciplined lines and gave away just 14 runs in the first 10 overs.

Murali Vijay (12) drove a beautiful away going delivery which was taken at second slip but to the dismay of South Africa, Abbott (3-23) had overstepped.

The first boundary came from Shikhar Dhawan’s (33) bat in the 13th over.

Just when it looked like the openers had settled down, Vijay drove a full delivery from Piedt (4-101) and was caught by Hashim Amla in the slips.

Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (14) took India to the lunch break without any further loss of wickets. In the first session, India managed to score 60 for one.

After just two overs of the second session, Piedt produced a lovely away turning delivery which struck Dhawan plumb in front.

India were put in a precarious position when Abbott got a delivery to sneak through Pujara’s defences in the very next over - the score was 66 for three at that stage.

Virat Kohli (44) and Rahane (89 not out) adopted a counter-attacking strategy which saw them score quickly in their 70-run partnership.

Kohli was particularly adept at finding the gaps while Rahane rotated the strike well.

Six runs away from his fifty, Kohli attempted to sweep Piedt but the ball struck Bavuma at short leg, popping up in the air and Dane Vilas showed outstanding presence of mind to dive forward and claim the rebound.

Two overs later, Rohit Sharma (1) failed to tackle Abbott’s reverse swing and edged to Amla at first slip, only for the South African captain to drop a regulation catch.

Soon after, Sharma attempted to take on Piedt but holed down to long-on where Imran Tahir (0-36) had a fairly simple catch to execute.

The umpire wanted to have a look at a no-ball call, but Piedt was just about safe on that count so
India had lost half their side with 138 runs on the board.

South Africa capped a wonderful session when Wriddhiman Saha (1) played one onto his stumps, giving Abbott his second wicket right on the stroke of tea.

After losing five wickets in the session, India were placed at 139 for six but after tea, a carefully crafted 59-run stand between Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja (24) rescued them.

Rahane smashed Piedt for a six and a boundary to bring up his first Test fifty on Indian soil.

In the 73rd over, Jadeja attempted to flick Abbott through mid-wicket but failed to keep it along the turf and Dean Elgar (0-15) dived to his right and took an excellent catch.

When Rahane was on 78, Piedt found his edge with a flighted delivery but once again, Amla dropped the catch in the slips.

With six overs left in the day's play, the umpires decided that the light was too poor to continue and took the players off the field.

Thanks to the efforts of Rahane, Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin (6), India were able to reach 231 for seven in 84 overs.

Piedt was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets and Abbott picked up the other three wickets to fall in the day.

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