Player of the Match
Player of the Match

South Africa 1-0 up after 18 wickets in 64 overs

South Africa 286 (De Villiers 65, Du Plessis 62, Bhuvneshwar 4-87) and 130 (Shami 3-28, Bumrah 3-39) beat India 209 (Pandya 93, Philander 3-33, Rabada 3-34) and 135 (Philander 6-42) by 72 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details (Viewers in the Indian subcontinent can watch highlights of the Test here)

For a half hour or so, the South African pace attack looked... unremarkable. Without Dale Steyn - out of the series with a heel injury - the other three had a difficult task summoning their usual menace. Then came an inswinger. It only decided to be one after travelling three-fourth the distance down the pitch. It fooled Virat Kohli. And it broke India.

Newlands was once again a reminder that Test-match conditions tilted in favour of the bowlers foster compelling cricket. In fact, footage of the fast bowling from both teams can probably replace adrenaline in hospitals. The fourth day alone featured 18 wickets and six of them went to Vernon Philander as his career-best sealed victory for his team, on his home ground, by 72 runs.

In the end, the result highlighted the difference between the two sides, namely that South Africa's bowlers allowed 48 boundaries in the entire Test and India's offered 41 in the first innings alone.

Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah did try their best to make amends. Like a heavy metal song that begins in the guise of a gentle melody, they simply blew batsmen away in the morning.

Faf du Plessis was the worst affected. He did not do much wrong in deciding to press forward to a delivery that under normal circumstances would have come up about waist-high. But in Cape Town, on a surface that spent an entire day under the covers, something crazy happened. The ball banged into the deck, it trampolined up to take the top glove even as the batsman recoiled from the line of fire, and settled in the wicketkeeper's waiting gloves. Wriddhiman Saha finished with 10 catches, a new national record.

A target of 208 seemed imminently achievable and India did start rather well, cruising to 28 for 0 in seven overs and in that time, M Vijay had already bested two jaffas, ruled out on both of them, but using DRS to continue his innings. Philander made sure the opener wasn't third time lucky.

Given the new ball from the other end, Morne Morkel bounced out Shikhar Dhawan and then had Cheteshwar Pujara caught behind with a snorter that the batsman had no choice but to play. India were in the mire and in walked their captain.

Kohli's stay at the crease was purposeful. He half seemed in one-day mode, turning dots into ones and ones into twos. He knew India wouldn't get too many opportunities to score and so he tried to give himself a leg up - literally. In the hour that he was out there, he made a conscious effort to thrust his front foot down the pitch and in his eagerness to do so, it often slid too far across on off stump. One of his leg glances was played right around his pad. South Africa sensed an opportunity. Philander converted it brilliantly.

The game changed from that moment on. Kagiso Rabada came charging in next over and roughed up Rohit Sharma with a ferocious bouncer. The batsman was beaten for pace and would have been out if not for a bit of casual fielding at long leg by Keshav Maharaj - he did not have his shades on and the sun blinded him from even putting a hand on the catch. If India read anything into that moment of fortune, Philander got rid of Rohit five balls later, a loose push away from the body forced an inside edge to crash into his stumps. Hardik Pandya was caught at gully - the same position he was dropped at in the first innings - for 1 with AB de Villiers diving low to his left and rising up to issue a send-off.

In the pre-match presser, South Africa made no pretense that they have a score to settle with India. Come the time to back it up, they were absolutely relentless. De Villiers batted at a level beyond the rest to take the lead above 200. There was a flick through midwicket for four that bowlers might petition to be taken out of the game. Then, a man who was meant to be in a moon boot walked out to bat. Steyn may not be able to play the sport he loves for four weeks, but when his team was nine down and needed him, he shrugged off the pain and put on the pads. South Africa are highly invested in winning this series and they've made a near-perfect start to it.

Toss matters?


South Africa's win-loss record in 11 Tests at Newlands in Cape Town, in last 10 years. However, they have won the toss only twice in those 11 matches.

Striking start


Last time India got their first wicket of the tour earlier than this tour as Bhuvneshwar dismissed Elgar off the third ball. Kapil Dev had dismissed Jimmy Cook first ball of the 1992-93 tour.

Three-down quickly


No. of times India have got three wickets conceding fewer runs in their first inns of a tour outside Asia, than this match's 12 for 3. They had begun the 2006-07 tour of SA with 5 for 3 in Johannesburg.

Standing strong


Last time AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis shared a partnership of 50+ runs in Tests, before doing it today. Their last such stand was also against India, 205 runs while chasing in J'Burg in Dec 2013.

Pacers' day


No. of instances in last 10 years when four India fast bowlers picked at least a wicket in a Test innings, including this game. The only other occasion was against Australia at WACA in 2011-12.

Top-order busted


Runs aggregated by top-3 wickets for both teams in their first inns of this Test - 12 for SA and 27 for Ind - is the lowest in a Test in SA since their readmission and second-lowest in any Test in last 15 years.

Philander's hundredth


Wkts for Philander in Tests at home in 23 Tests. Pujara was his 100th wicket.

Solid recovery


Runs added by India's first 7 wickets. Pandya and Bhuvneshwar have added more than that so far.

Amla fails again


Hashim Amla's average in first or only Tests of a series since 2015, in 19 inns. He has just 2 50+ scores in this period. Before 2015, he averaged 70.42 in first Tests with 23 50+ scores in 52 inns.

Rare high for pacers


This is the first time 4 India fast bowlers have taken at least a wicket in both innings of a Test - Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Bumrah and Pandya.

India's session


South Africa's score in the first session on Day 4. They began the day at 65 for 2 but were all out for 130, adding just 65 more runs.

Another bowlers' session


Score in the second session of day 4. In the first session, 8 wickets fell for 65 runs. 15 wickets have fallen in first two session so far.

Philander's best


Vernon Philander's figures in the second innings - his career-best in Tests. He ended the Test with three wickets in four balls.