Fired-up South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn took three wickets in 10 balls to rip through the India top order on day two of their second Test at Kingsmead yesterday.
The Proteas picked up four wickets for the addition of 90 runs in the session, with India reaching tea on 271 for five, to drag themselves back into the game with the aggressive Steyn the catalyst for their success.
After rain had washed out the morning’s play, Steyn charged in and ended his barren run of 414 deliveries in between wickets in the series when he had Cheteshwar Pujara (70) caught by wicketkeeper A.B. de Villiers pushing forward to a pitched-up ball.
It brought to an end a fine second-wicket stand of 157 between Pujara and Murali Vijay that had so frustrated South Africa on the opening day.
Vijay moved to within three of his century before he succumbed to Steyn’s short-pitched attack, gloving the ball down the leg-side to De Villiers.
The very next ball Rohit Sharma (zero) misjudged the bounce as he shouldered arms to a delivery that always looked destined to crash into middle stump.
With 11 overs remaining to the second new ball, Steyn was rested after one more over.
Kohli and Rahane batted solidly and then saw off the new ball, with Steyn and Vernon Philander unable to make any further breakthroughs.
Rahane was twice struck by bouncers from Steyn, on the helmet and on the upper arm.
Virat Kohli was on course for his third half-century in as many innings in the series before he was out 10 minutes before tea for 46, another catch down the leg-side by De Villiers, this time off Morne Morkel.
It took a spectacular catch by De Villiers to dismiss Kohli, with the wicketkeeper flinging himself to his left to take the chance.
Ajinkya Rahane (23) and captain M.S. Dhoni (zero) were to resume after the interval.
Steyn, who lost top spot in the world rankings for Test bowlers to Vernon Philander, has figures of three for 87 in the innings.
Play was scheduled to continue until 6pm yesterday as the umpires try to get 75 overs into the day’s play after losing 29 on Thursday to bad light.