How Hardik Pandya single-handedly defied fearsome South African pace attack
Hardik Pandya defied the odds to smash runs all over the park on a pitch where top Indian batsmen struggled to score runs. Pandya struck 93 off just 95 balls on the second day of the first Test between India and South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town on Saturday.Pandya’s blazing innings was studded with 14 fours and a six but fell short of what could have been his second hundred. India were all out for 209 to hand South Africa a 77-run first innings lead.Pandya came out all guns blazing and played his own game attacking the South Africa pace battery, which had ripped apart the Indian batting line-up and left the visitors reeling at 76/5.Pandya had joined Ravichandran Ashwin second ball after lunch when overnight batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was caught for 26 by skipper Faf du Plessis off Vernon Philander. Ashwin (12) and Wriddhiman Saha (0) soon departed and India were in deep trouble at 92/7 before Pandya took the attack back to the opposition.ALSO WATCHPandya started off on an attacking mode and was not afraid to take the risks. Like fortune favours the brave, the 24-year-old survived twice. Dean Elgar dropped him on 15 off Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock missed a stumping chance when Pandya was batting on 71.In the 56th over, Pandya had welcomed spinner Keshav Maharaj with a mighty six on the second ball of the over.On the very next ball, he stepped down the track again and swung his bat wildly only to miss the ball. The awkward bounce was generated after pitching and De Kock fumbled collecting the ball chest high.advertisementPandya was also involved in a 99-run stand Bhuvneshwar for the eighth wicket to help the visitors cut down the first innings deficit.Pandya had started his Test career with a bang smashing 50 on his debut innings to lead India to a 304-run victory over Sri Lanka at Galle in July.But in only his third Test, Pandya blasted his way to a maiden century when he reached the three-figure mark off only 86 balls on the second day of the third Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.He became the quickest Indian to score a century batting at No.8 in the longest format. Pandya had scored 108 off 96 balls.