Durban: India made a solid start in the second and final Test against South Africa, scoring 181/1 in 61 overs before bad light stopped play at Kingsmead here Thursday.
India could score only 18 more runs after the tea break in the Boxing Day match before light was offered to the batsman. The visitors were in a strong position, with opening batsman Murali Vijay on 91 and Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 58 at the close of play when umpires Steve Davis and Rod Tucker called off play in view of poor light.
India were off to a steady start making 76/1 at lunch in the first innings after electing to bat. The only wicket to fall in the morning session was Shikhar Dhawan, who was forced to play a full delivery by Morne Morkel, and edged to Robin Petersen at third slip.
It was a tough session for the South African pacers as they failed to get any sideways movement with the new ball on a hot day. They pitched the ball up but Dhawan and Vijay managed to punch them down the ground for fours.
Morkel, who was doubtful for the match after twisting his ankle in the first Test, bowled full steam and hit the deck hard as there was no lateral movement and was finally rewarded with Dhawan’s wicket.
It was a lapse of concentration that cost Dhawan his wicket. He made a quick 29 off 49 balls but lost his concentration after a drinks break and nicked the first ball to the slip cordon. At the other end, Vijay adopted a patient approach after he was beaten several times and was also struck on the arm.
With Vijay batting on 76 and Pujara on 55 India reached 163/1 at tea, scoring 87 runs in the second session to put India on top. Thereon Vijay scored freely while Pujara, a centurion in Johannesburg, held up one end of the innings.
Vijay got to his half-century with a four off Kallis by chopping a wide ball behind backward point. Pujara also got to his fifty in a similar fashion by driving Petersen for a four through deep extra cover.