Ashwin India
R Ashwin was the main man for India againIANS

Day 2 morning of the first Test between India and South Africa, two batsmen a little nervous, knowing they have to start again and that too on this scary pitch – no-brainer then that R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – India's two best bowlers on this wicket – will start proceedings.

Nope, apparently, it is time for Amit Mishra, who was least impressive in that 20-over spell on day one, and Umesh Yadav, the man who does not know the meaning of creating pressure from one end.

Virat Kohli made some strange decisions in the Test series against Sri Lanka, particularly at the start of a day's play or a session, and that penchant to make mind-baffling decisions seems to have stuck around.

It's almost as if Kohli (and obviously Ravi Shastri and the rest of the backroom staff, considering it was the start of play), having espoused the advantage of playing the five bowlers, is determined to use all his options, even if that thought should not even be remotely there.

On day 2 morning, even a T20 fan (no offence guys) would have known bowling Ashwin and Jadeja was the way to go; instead Mishra came in and so did Yadav and Varun Aaron, soon after, and Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla picked them off comfortably, with the scoreboard ticking along nicely, as they went about putting on 76 runs together. Yes, the fast bowlers bowled around the wicket to perhaps create a bit more rough for the right-handers, but that makes sense only if the spinners are not able to pick up wickets consistently.

Only 28 runs were scored by South Africa in the 20 overs of Day 1, but by the time Ashwin came in for the first time, in the ninth over of the day, South Africa were already on 50.

When did Jadeja come in then, you ask? In over number 34. And what happened once Ashwin and Jadeja started bowling in tandem? Pressure was created, Elgar (37, 123b, 2x4) felt like he needed to break the shackles a little, played a false stroke against the spin of Ashwin and got a leading edge to short third man.

AB De Villiers came in, looked like he was a No.11 batsman for quite a while (imagine De Villiers looking like that) and got two lucky reprieves, both off Jadeja. One was an outside edge which wasn't given by Kumar Dharmasena, despite a clear sound, and the other was an edge which was caught by Virat Kohli at first slip via Wriddhiman Saha, which was pulled back for a no-ball, after a long, long consultation with the third umpire.

There was enough doubt for that particular no-ball, and even if the doubt is supposed to go to the bowler, third umpire Vineet Kulkarni decided to go the other way and just like that De Villiers, India's worst nightmare, was back at the crease.

With De Villiers struggling to cope with the Mohali wicket, though, Amla (43, 97b, 6x4), looking as solid in defence as a batsman can possibly look until then, felt the pressure, jogged down the track to Ashwin, who snuck the ball past the right-hander for Saha to complete a stumping that is as fortuitous as they come, as the ball cannoned off his chest and clipped the bail.

The wicketkeeper Dane Vilas came and went quickly as his attacking mentality led to Ashwin picking up his third wicket of the morning, and fourth overall, before De Villiers finished the first session off with a flurry of boundaries, which ensured South Africa scored 99 runs in 29 overs, to go into Lunch on 125 for five, trailing India by 76 runs.

De Villiers then went about his merry way, in his own inimitable style, knowing there isn't much point blocking on this pitch, scoring 63 from just 83 balls (6x4), but with wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end, India ensured they would end the first innings of this Test match with a lead, worth 17 runs, after South Africa were bowled out for 184.

While India pulled it back and took a lead, everyone will keep wondering what the thinking behind not starting with Ashwin (24-5-51-5), who picked up the final wicket of the innings to finish with a five-for and become the fastest Indian to 150 wickets (in 29 matches), and Jadeja on Day 2 morning was.

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