Asked to compare between Nagpur and Johannesburg, Amla said, "Both were very hard to bat". Whatever the reason, the pitch demanded grit and resistance.
But it was a ploy that worked, not only in opening up the legside, but also in giving the India bowlers something else to think about, and when they bowled too wide of off-stump Amla, was able to cut and drive. The hosts are 55/2 in the 10th over, replying to India's first-innings total of 187.
The all-rounder outlined that this was a good pitch for bowlers, and that the batsmen can get exposed here if the proper lengths are bowled. "So we definitely back our bowlers to do the job for us tomorrow morning", Pujara said.
The deathly slow Indian batsman admitted afterwards that the conditions were up there with the most challenging he's faced. It was the wicket-keepers who had a field day in the first two days, creating new records along the way.
Jasprit Bumrah has been on a roll since his debut at Cape Town.
He added, "This pitch is one of the toughest I've played on".
Pointing to cracks and indentations on a good length, with graphics showing extravagant movement and unpredictable bounce, Pollock said: "If you've got deliveries behaving like this on day two of a Test match it can't be judged a good surface".
The day began with Vernon Philander bowling one of those spells where on any other day, he would have accounted for many more wickets.
Regular opener Lokesh Rahul joined Murali Vijay and saw India through to the close. There was a wry smile from him and Virat Kohli, who was batting alongside Pujara, a generous round of applause and laughter from the dressing room and the players, who were sitting in the dug out. It needed patience to wait for the right deliveries and survive the ones that tested his technique.
Pujara, known for his dogged approach, went on with his cautious approach consuming 145 deliveries for his 27 runs, with four hits to the fence.
It had rained till 6am and the overcast conditions suggested that winning the toss would mean bowling first, especially when you have five fast bowlers in the team. But this one has a lot of pace, bounce, probably one of the quickest wickets that I have played on. You have to accept it. "You have to get in line and take it on", Amla told SuperSport after Thursday's play. He has lots of shots and the way he batted today, I don't think any other batsman could have batted like that.
India's batting was not as impressionable as they'd have wanted it to be, as they were dismissed for a meagre total of 187 runs in the first innings. "I would say it was a good day for us".