CAPE TOWN : Former captain Ab de Villiers' unbeaten half century steered South Africa to 107/3 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against India at Newlands here on Friday. De Villiers was unbeaten on 59 with skipper Faf du Plessis on 37 when the umpires called for the break. Earlier, paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/39) rocked the hosts with three quick blows to reduce them to 12/3 after du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat.
Bhuvneshwar gave India a dream start, picking the wicket of opener Dean Elgar (0) with the very third delivery of the match.
After bowling twice down the legs, the Meerut-born pacer pitched one around the off-stump forcing Elgar to nick behind for stumper Wriddhiman Saha to complete a regulation catch.
One over later, Bhuvneshwar struck again with a sharp inswinger that caught the other opener Aiden Markram (5) plumb in front.
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Reduced to 7/2, in walked No.3 Hashim Amla (3), but his stay at the crease was also cut short by Bhuvneshwar with a good length delivery which the right-hander only managed to nick behind for Saha to complete the rest.
Tottering at 12/3, De Villiers and du Plessis joined forces and the right-handed pair denied India any more inroads, with the former counter attacking Bhuvneshwar with four boundaries in an over to milk 17 runs.
Making his Test debut, pacer Jasprit Bumrah surprised De Villiers with a ripper in his very second over but that was all the Indians could offer as the right-hander went on to slam his 41st Test 50, pouncing on a length delivery from Mohammed Shami through the cover region.
De Villiers, who returned to Test cricket after a long gap, didn't look perturbed in the precarious situation his team was in and consumed only 55 balls to reach his 50, laced with 10 hits to the fence.
Du Plessis, on the other hand, was happy to play the second fiddle to his senior partner as he quietly raced to 37 off 67 balls, slamming seven boundaries.