Bangalore, Nov 14: AB de Villiers marked his 100th Test with a stroke-filled 85 to revive struggling South Africa on the opening day of the second Test against India in Bangalore on Saturday.
The Proteas, down 1-0 in the four-match series, were reduced to 120-5 after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions at the Chinnaswamy stadium before going to tea on 177-7.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin wreaked havoc with the top order claiming three of the first five wickets, including two in his first over when he was brought on to bowl the eighth over.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also picked up three wickets, including the important one of de Villiers off the last ball before tea, caught by a diving wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha in front of the stumps.
De Villiers hit 11 boundaries and a six, having walked in at 45-3 to generous applause from some 23,000 fans who regard him as one of their own due to his stint with the Bangalore team in the Indian Premier League.
De Villiers got off the mark with five runs, courtesy of an overthrow by Indian captain Virat Kohli that raced to the fence.
He followed that with a sweetly-timed on-drive off fast bowler Varun Aaron for a boundary and pulled Ashwin to the square-leg fence.
De Villiers, who went to lunch unbeaten on 19, brought up South Africa's 100 with a superb cover drive off fast bowler Varun Aaron and reached his half-century with a single off Ashwin.
Ashwin trapped Stiaan van Zyl (10) leg-before with his second delivery and had Faf du Plessis (0) caught at short-leg by Cheteshwar Pujara off the fifth to make it 15-2.
Aaron claimed the key wicket of Hashim Amla (7) in the 15th over, uprooting the captain's off-stump as the Proteas were reduced to 45-3.
Opener Dean Elgar, who plodded to 38 by lunch, was dismissed off the second ball after resumption when he dragged an attempted sweep off Jadeja onto his stumps.
Ashwin had JP Duminy snapped up by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips before Jadeja grabbed a return catch off Dane Vilas (15) in a double blow that had the South Africans hopping at 159-6.
India made two changes from the side that won the first Test in Mohali by 108 runs, bringing in premier fast bowler Ishant Sharma and all-rounder Stuart Binny in place of Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra.
South Africa replaced the injured pace duo of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander with Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott.
The Proteas also brought in all-rounder Duminy, who missed the first Test due to injury, in place of off-spinner Simon Harmer. AFP