BANGALORE, India (AP):India were comfortably placed at 80-0 at stumps yesterday after spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin helped skittle out South Africa for 214 on the opening day of the second cricket Test.At the close, Shikhar Dhawan was batting on 45 and Murali Vijay on 28 as India looked on track to gain the first-innings lead on a pitch aiding turn. India, which won the opening Test of the four-game series by 108 runs at Mohali, trailed by 134 runs.Left-hander Dhawan put behind him his pair of ducks in the opening Test as he struck seven fours. Vijay, who was dropped on 21 by Imran Tahir at square leg off Morne Morkel, had hit five fours.Earlier, the South African batsmen struggled against slow bowling as left-arm spinner Jadeja grabbed 4-50 and offspinner Ashwin 4-70.AB de Villiers led the resistance with 85, but failed to build partnerships.”There was not much for us in the pitch, but we bowled well,” Ashwin said. “AB de Villiers is a world-class batsman and played his strokes, but I thought he was a bit edgy today. We were in control, with wickets falling regularly at the other end.”Ashwin got the initial wickets to justify captain Virat Kohli’s decision to bowl, while Jadeja took charge later. Ashwin and Jadeja had finished with eight wickets each at Mohali and seemed to intimidate most of the batsmen from early on.The pace bowlers could not get early wickets, but Ashwin removed opener Stiaan van Zyl and Faf du Plessis in quick succession in the eighth over as South Africa tottered at 15-2. Ashwin also dismissed Jean-Paul Duminy and Morkel, both of whom returned for the match after missing the first Test due to injuries.Jadeja’s first wicket was that of Dean Elgar immediately after lunch as the left-hander went for a sweep, only to glove it on to the stumps after making a fighting 38. Jadeja also took a sharp return catch to dismiss Dane Vilas and then the key wicket of de Villiers, who was caught by a fine diving effort by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Kagiso Rabada also fell to Jadeja, caught in the close cordon.”The pitch was fine, but we did not play well,” South Africa coach Russell Domingo said. “There were too many soft dismissals. At the moment, we are too far behind in the game, but 6-7 wickets can fall in a session here, and the game can change fast.”
The trio have a remarkable 20 Dakar victories between them, Peterhansel having won six times on the motorbike and seven times in a car, while Despres is a five-time motorbike winner and Sainz also claimed victory in 2010.“Honestly, I haven’t changed the way I prepare after winning last year,” said the 56-year-old Sainz, also twice a World Rally champion (1990, 1992).“Once you have won, all you want to do is come back and win again. You’re still aware of what kind of race it’ll be and you try and adapt to the car and its characteristics.“The Dakar challenges you in every way both physically and mentally. It taxes all your strength and that of your team, so victory brings maximum satisfaction.”Peugeot’s French driver Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena of Monaco take part in a driving session in San Bartolo, 75 km south of Lima, on January 4, ahead of the 2019 Dakar Rally © AFP / FRANCK FIFEMini look set to be best tested by Toyota, with Qatari Nasser al-Attiyah, a double Dakar winner (2011, 2015), no doubt looking forward to the sand-heavy rally.Attiyah finished second last year and will be bolstered by teammate Giniel De Villiers, the South African who claimed the Dakar title in 2009 and has had seven other podium finishes including third in 2018.Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb also returns for the fourth time, hoping to become the first privateer to win the Dakar Rally since Jean-Louis Schlesser back in 2000.– ‘Several teams have a shot’ –Loeb, who will be driving a Peugeot 3008 prepared and fielded by the PH-Sport private team, has previously made his mark with a total of 10 stage victories and a second place finish in 2017.“Several teams will have a shot at winning and I hope we are one of them,” said Loeb.“I like the dunes. I haven’t forgotten everything I’ve learned these past three years and I’m still hungry for success!”Since the race switched from its original route from Paris to the Senegalese capital Dakar for security reasons in 2009, it has enjoyed multiple hosts in South America.But this year Argentina, Chile and Bolivia all pulled out for economic reasons, leaving Peru as the sole host of the 41st edition.Race director Etienne Lavigne insisted it would not be a “cut price” race despite the reduction of the rally from 9,000 kilometres over 14 stages in 2018 — when it went through Peru, Argentina and Bolivia — to 5,000 kilometres across 10 stages in 2019.The shortened course has certainly not put off the competition with all the big names of the recent past among the 334 vehicles including 167 motorbike and quads, 96 cars, 30 SxS (buggies) and 41 trucks registered for the race which ends in Lima on January 17.Reigning motorbike champion Matthias Walkner of Austria heads a formidable trio of riders for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team including fellow Dakar winners Toby Price of Australia and Briton Sam Sunderland.“The goal is to reach my full potential on the 2019 Dakar. The mission is clear: defend my title,” said Walkner.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Spain’s Carlos Sainz heads up a formidable Mini trio as he bids to defend his Dakar Rally title when the gruelling 10-stage race, being hosted for the first time by a single country, gets under way on Sunday © AFP / FRANCK FIFELIMA, Peru, Jan 5 – Spain’s Carlos Sainz heads a formidable Mini trio as he bids to defend his Dakar Rally title when the gruelling 10-stage race, being hosted for the first time by a single country, gets under way on Sunday.Sainz will drive for the X-raid Mini John Cooper Works Buggy Team which also features Frenchmen Stephane Peter hansel and Cyril Despres, legends on the world’s toughest rally race.