CAPE TOWN, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Batsman Cheteshwar Pujara produced a stout rear-guard as India’s battle for survival on a lively Newlands wicket saw them crawl to 76 for four from 36 overs at lunch on day two of the opening test against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.
India still face a first innings deficit of 210 runs after bowling their hosts out for 286 on day one on a pitch that is offering plenty of encouragement for the seamers.
Pujara is not out on 26 from 91 deliveries and will continue his fifth wicket stand of 19 with Ravichandran Ashwin (12) in the afternoon session as the tourists battle the prodigious bounce of the surface and the accuracy of the home seam attack.
After resuming the day on 28 for three, India scored just 17 runs in the opening hour, a mixture of well-judged leaves and the ball whistling past the edge of the bat.
South African seamer Vernon Philander bowled an excellent line and it took the tourists 34 balls to squeeze a run off him, which was all he conceded in six overs.
It was a game of patience for the home side, but they were eventually rewarded when Kagiso Rabada (1-15) trapped Rohit Sharma plumb in front of his wickets for a painstaking 11 from 59 balls.
Sharma selfishly chose to review the decision from English umpire Michael Gough, but his bat missed the ball by some distance and the delivery would have crashed into middle stump halfway up.
Fit-again seamer Dale Steyn (1-25) bowled seven overs in the morning session that went for 12 runs, more encouraging signs of his recovery after 14 months on the sidelines.
South Africa host India in three tests this month with the next two to be played in Pretoria and Johannesburg. (Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)