Cheteshwar Pujara India
Cheteshwar Pujara was solid as a rock for India in the second inningsReuters

India might have succumbed to the part-time spin of Dean Elgar in the first innings, but the home team ensured there would be no repeat of that mistake, settling down well with the willow in their second innings to put themselves in a we-can-call-the-shots-now position in this first Test match in Mohali against South Africa.

After Shikhar Dhawan fell early to that was-there-any-doubt-it-would-happen outside edge, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara played intelligently, making full use of a couple of strange decisions from Hashim Amla and the injury-enforced absence of Dale Steyn.

While Amla could do little about Steyn's groin strain which kept him in the dressing room for this second innings, the South Africa captain could have certainly gone with pace bowling a little more early on.

Sometime, when you see a spin-friendly pitch, you get carried away, and bowl your spinners way too early. Let's be honest, as well as they did on day one, South Africa do not have the same quality spinners that India do, but their fast bowlers are of a different ilk.

So, the decision to only give Vernon Philander the new ball, while a spinner came on at the other end, raised a few eyebrows, especially considering how impressive Kagiso Rabada, who finished with figures of 8-5-9-0 at the end of day two, has been.

Philander did pick up the wicket of Dhawan, but with the spinners – Simon Harmer, Elgar and Imran Tahir – able to create little pressure at the other end, the scoreboard ticked along nicely.

Credit must also be given to Vijay and Pujara, who, after their misfortunes in the first innings, played the spinners with a lot more intelligence, waiting for the bad balls, and ensuring they stayed patient. The defence was a lot better this time around, and the longer the batsmen frustrated the South Africa bowlers, the more bad the balls came, which were duly put away for boundaries.

Vijay and Pujara, who put on India's biggest partnership in the first innings as well, allied for 86 runs, bulging that lead, which was only 17 runs to start with, considerably, before the opener fell to a googly from Tahir. The ball spun back into Vijay (47, 105b, 6x4), with the inside edge flying to the right of the substitute fielder at short leg Temba Bavuma, who flew to his left to take a marvellous catch.

Virat Kohli (11, 27b, 1x4) came in and looked a lot more relaxed, which meant his wicket was not given away and with Pujara (63, 100b, 6x4, 1x6) calm as ice, India ended Day 2 on 122 for two, with an overall lead of 142 runs.

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