Run outs are usually not the order of the day when it comes to Test cricket. Yet, there are occasions when even players with a calm head fall prey to an error in judgement.
The second Test match between India and South Africa was one such strange affair. One or two run outs are still understandable, but when you have five of them in the same match, it’s a bit unusual. These run outs shifted momentum of the match from time to time.
Here is a look at all five of them.
The partnership between Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla was going strong in South Africa’s first innings. The Proteas were were well-placed to pile up a huge first innings total. Just then, a moment of brilliance in the field choked the rate of scoring.
Hashim Amla faced a short-pitched delivery from Hardik Pandya that spun off the wicket, after it was defended by Amla.
Faf called for a single, but Amla was slow to get off the blocks. Pandya showed some agility as he quickly turned after reaching the ball and had a successful shy at the wickets on the non-striker’s end.
Within five overs of Amla’s dismissal, Faf du Plesis was involved in another mix-up. However, this time it was Vernon Philander’s own fault that cost the swing bowler his wicket.
It was another short-pitched delivery from Pandya that took the edge of Philander’s bat. The ball got lobbed in the air – a little away from Murali Vijay at silly mid-on. Philander was in a world of his own as he kept running despite repeated ‘NOs’ from Faf at the other end.
Both batsmen ended up standing at the same side of the wicket – and India was gifted the sixth wicket.
A soft dismissal saw KL Rahul get caught-and-bowled to Morne Morkel in India’s first innings. Chesteshwar Pujara came out to bat with the onus of steadying the ship. But the dogged number three had other plans.
Taking inspiration from the opponents, Pujara scuttled for a run on the first ball he faced. Debutant Lungi Ngidi had just one stump to aim at, and he hit the bull’s eye. The replay showed that Pujara was short by a yard. He departed for a golden duck, unaware that the other part of the installment was yet to come in the second innings.
The adage ‘what goes around, comes around’ is most appropriate in Pandya’s case. He effected Amla’s run out in South Africa’s first innings that shifted the momentum of the match. Little did he then know that his run out would swing the pendulum back in favour of the Proteas.
It was the first session of play on day three. All hopes were pinned on captain Kohli and the all-rounder Pandya to bail India out of trouble. Pandya defended a ball that went straight to Philander at mid-on. Pandya ambled a few steps, and then jogged back to the crease.
Philander pulled off a direct hit that was referred to the third umpire. As it turned out, Hardik Pandya’s bat and foot were in the air over the crease when the ball dislodged the bails.
India were 35-3 overnight, and there were talks that India should come out to bat with a positive intent on day five. But, there is a fine line between showing positive intent and setting out on a suicide mission. Pujara’s attempt was skewed towards the latter, as he gifted his wicket to the opposition for the second time in the match.
Parthiv Patel got an awkwardly-rising delivery from Philander. He negotiated it safely and guided it towards third man. Pacer Lungi Ngidi chased the ball and was backed by AB de Villiers. Ngidi slid and passed the ball to de Villiers to throw it back to the keeper.
Unmindful of this and his dodgy knee, Pujara set out for a third run. The next thing he knew was that he was down on the ground after a dive that was not enough to make his ground.
A quick recap of Pujara’s ordeal with stealing runs in the second India-South Africa Test match: