Delhi Test, Day 2: Jadeja wrecks South Africa with a five-for

Resuming at its overnight aggregate of 231 for seven, India banked on Rahane's fifth Test century and Ashwin's sixth half-century to score 334 in its first innings. India, which decided against enforcing follow-on, would start its second innings on Day Three.

Ajinkya Rahane scored his maiden Test hundred in India.   -  AP

The bonding between Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin is not just restricted to dressing room celebrations or slip fielder-and-spin bowler relation. The excellent rapport between the two got reflected in a fine 98-run partnership that not only took India to a safer zone but also put the host in a position of strength on the second day of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Friday.

Resuming at its overnight aggregate of 231 for seven, India banked on Rahane's fifth Test century and Ashwin's sixth half-century to score 334 in its first innings.

In reply, South Africa experienced another familiar collapse to be precariously wrapped up for 121 with wrecker-in-chief Ravindra Jadeja bagging four or more wickets for the third time in the series.

As the Proteas began with the second new ball, Rahane, starting from his first day's score of 89, lied low and showed a straight bat in the first 45 minutes before driving Kyle Abbott straight to bring up his first hundred on Indian soil in style in the 10th over of day.

After reaching the three-figure mark, the Mumbai batsman opened up to torment the South African bowlers. He moved his feet well and stepped out against the spinners to good effect. Two fine sixes, over mid-wicket and long-off, in Dane Piedt's second over of the morning warmed up the spectators in the sunny atmosphere.

Ashwin, who resumed at six and enjoyed the largesse of Hashim Amla when on 14, complemented Rahane well. Despite his heart being with his flood-ravaged city of Chennai, Ashwin maintained his focus and put a price to his wicket. He valiantly faced the South African pacers when they treated him with some short stuff.

Ashwin grew in confidence as he spent time in the middle. Apart from defending solidly, he drove, cut and glanced to get some boundaries. Ashwin hammered Imran Tahir over long on for six to reach his half-century.

The eighth wicket stand between Rahane (127) and Ashwin (56) helped India cross 300 runs for the first time in the series.

Following the fall of Rahane, who drove Tahir to be caught by AB de Villiers in cover, Ashwin added 38 runs with Umesh Yadav (10 not out) and helped India post a challenging aggregate.

Abbott claimed two wickets in the space of three deliveries to achieve second five-for of his career. The host's first innings folded in the fifth over of the second session.

With the pitch playing truer than the previous ones in the series, South Africa's response only underscored the fact that the demon lay in the mind of its batsmen. Poor shot selection was the primary reason of their miserable performance.

Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar fought hard to deny the probing Ishant Sharma from making any early inroads. Elgar, who was survived some close shouts, finally departed when Umesh Yadav struck in the 15th over. The left-hander edged a wider and fuller delivery to the wicketkeeper.

Then Jadeja's three-wicket burst brought South Africa to its knees. Jadeja knocked off Bavuma's off stump when the opener played for turn and had Amla caught behind.

India, which decided against enforcing follow-on, would start its second innings on Day Three.

Faf du Plessis tried out a horrendous shot, a scoop, to be lapped up by Rahane.

Yadav bowled JP Duminy to pick up his second wicket and Ishant and Ashwin opened their accounts by accounting for Dane Vilas and Abbott respectively to leave South Africa reeling at seven for 84.

Jadeja returned to bag his fourth wicket in the form of Piedt and followed it up by removing lone fighter de Villiers (42). Ishant Sharma took a brilliant catch on the long-off boundary to get rid of the danger man.

South Africa's quest for an honourable fight looked a distant dream.

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