What goes around comes around

Hashim AmlaHashim Amla is clean bowled by Ishant Sharma during third session of the second day's play in Johannesburg. India's first innings brought to a close by Morne Morkel, as he bowls Mohammed Shami through the gate in the first session.

You could almost have forgiven Hashim Amla for having shouldered his arms. That it rattled his stumps was another matter. Till then, he had faced 29 deliveries from Ishant Sharma. Only one of those had shaped into him. The other two dozen or so had been either too wide or the length too short.

The 30th delivery from Ishant, the fatal one for Amla, was pitched a couple of inches fuller and also tailed in. It hit off-stump just about half-way up, leaving the batsman bemused. Amla was probably playing for the Ishant that he faced prior to the tea-break. The one that turned up for the last session looked pretty much the same but had returned with a more potent sting. Having dismissed Amla by dragging his length fuller, he welcomed Jacques Kallis with a delivery that was almost a half-volley and tailed in sharply.

Golden duck for Kallis

The veteran right-hander, out-of-form, was too slow to react and was trapped right in front. South Africa had suddenly lost two wickets out of nowhere. Three balls later, Zaheer Khan did what is expected of him on South African soil, getting rid of Graeme Smith. The hosts had sunk to 130/4 from a position of strength. Within five overs they were on the ropes as Mohammad Shami removed JP Duminy and AB de Villiers in the space of three deliveries.

It was probably one of India's best sessions with the ball overseas in many a year, one where an old warhorse regained his mojo, an enigmatic talent found his length and a promising youngster displayed that he belonged at this level. At the end of it, South Africa were 146/6. The home team recovered slightly with Vernon Philander leading the way with a counterattacking unbeaten 48 with Faf du Plessis for company and taking the score to 213/6 by stumps. South Africa had lost five wickets for 16 runs just like India had earlier in the day. If the South African pacers had taken a day to realize the wicket-taking length on the Wanderers wicket, Ishant and his colleagues had taken a session to do so.

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