Four years after impressing Indian captain Virat Kohli as a teenage net bowler, Marco Jansen produced a destructive spell of bowling for South Africa on the first day of the second Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday.
Jansen, 21, took four for 31 as India were bowled out for 202 after winning the toss.
South Africa were 35 for one at the close.
“He’s an amazing bowler,” said Kagiso Rabada, South Africa’s senior bowler, of the newcomer to the fast bowling pack.
“He’s like 38m tall [he’s actually 2.03m] which helps, especially at the Wanderers with the extra bounce. He’s a magnificent bowling all-rounder,” said Rabada.
Kohli was one of Jansen’s five wickets in the first Test in Centurion, which India won by 113 runs, but was absent on Monday because of an upper back spasm.
Stand-in captain KL Rahul top-scored with a patient 50, while Ravichandran Ashwin made a hard-hit 46 on a pitch which Rabada said had “some bounce, some pace and some nip with the grass coverage”.
Ashwin said batting first at the Wanderers was a challenge. “You want to bat first. You want to come out and post a good score of 260 or 270. South Africa have posted scores of 250 at the Wanderers and dominated. Maybe we are a bit short but I am confident that with our full bowling arsenal available tomorrow, fingers crossed, we can definitely make something of this score.”
Ashwin was referring to a scare for India when fast bowler Mohammed Siraj left the field clutching his right hamstring after pulling up in the penultimate over of the day.
“The medical staff are assessing him overnight and I am hopeful that with the history that Siraj has he will come out tomorrow and give his best,” said Ashwin.
Jansen, who towers above his teammates, made the most of the steep bounce, troubling most of the batsmen.
When he dismissed Rahul, Jansen had the remarkable figures of two for nine in 9.5 overs. His figures were spoilt slightly by Ashwin, who, almost alone of the Indian batsmen, decided attack was the best form of defence. But he played one shot too many to be Jansen’s fourth victim.
Jansen and his twin brother Duan, who has also gone on to play first-class cricket, bowled to the Indians on their 2017/18 tour and attracted the attention of Kohli.
Jansen made his Indian Premier League debut for the Mumbai Indians last year before gaining his first Test cap at Centurion.
Day belonged to bowlers
Duanne Olivier, returning to the South African team after spending three years as a Kolpak player with English county Yorkshire, took three for 64, the same figures as Rabada.
Olivier said the day belonged to all the bowlers. He praised Lungi Ngidi and Jansen for putting the pressure on the batsmen after he and Rabada had failed to take a wicket in the first hour.
Ngidi, South Africa’s best bowler in the first Test, kept tight control and Olivier said Ngidi was unlucky not to take a wicket.
Jansen made the first breakthrough, having Mayank Agarwal caught behind after a 36-run opening stand with Rahul.
Olivier plunged India into trouble from which they never fully emerged by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane off successive balls when the total was on 49.
South Africa again made a poor start with the bat, with Aiden Markram falling leg before wicket to Mohammed Shami for seven in the fourth over.
South African captain Dean Elgar (11 not out) and Keegan Petersen (14 not out) survived to the close, although Petersen was dropped by wicketkeeper Risabh Pant, lunging in front of first slip, off Jasprit Bumrah when he had 12.
“We’re 1-0 down in the series. We’d like to win the series but we are not looking too far ahead,” said Olivier.
“Our focus is on this Test match. If we bat big we’ll be in a good position.”