Former captain AB de Villiers negated Bhuvneshwar Kumar's terrific first spell with a counter-attacking half-century as South Africa reached 107 for 3 at lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test.
After Bhuvneshwar (3/39 in 9 overs) wreaked havoc reducing South Africa to 12 for 3 inside the fifth over, De Villiers (59 batting) and skipper Faf du Plessis (37 batting) added 95 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket to steady the ship. De Villiers was in his element as he hit as many 11 boundaries in 65 balls while Du Plessis also showed positive intent hitting seven fours in 67 balls after opting to make first use of the wicket.
Bhuvneshwar got India off to a rollicking start as he took three wickets in the first three overs. He had Dean Elgar (0) caught behind off the third ball of the match. An over later, he trapped Aiden Markram (5) lbw with a sharp inswinger. The ever-dependable Hashim Amla (3) too was caught behind off the Meerut speedster as his first spell figures read 3-1- 5-3.
De Villiers then led South Africa's recovery as the duo batted out the remainder of the challenging first hour. They looked to counter attack the bowling with the former taking 17 runs off one Bhuvneshwar over. In doing so, they brought up the 50-partnership for the 4th wicket off only 63 balls.
There was a chance from Du Plessis off Mohammed Shami (0 -33) in the 17th over but it bounced just short of skipper Virat Kohli at second slip. Debutant Jasprit Bumrah (0-31), who was preferred over seasoned Ishant Sharma, came on as first change and purchased awkward bounce at times off the pitch. He troubled both batsmen in his first spell but was unable to make the breakthrough that India desired.
Thereafter, De Villiers brought up his 41st Test half- century off only 55 balls, inclusive of 10 fours. The milestone came off a cut shot off Shami's bowling. This helped the run-rate as well, crossing four-runs per over mark in the last 30 minutes of the first session. Bhuvneshwar came back from another spell towards the end of the session, but he was not able to separate the two batsmen. Hardik Pandya (0-1) bowled an over before lunch as South Africa crossed 100 in the 26th over.