India’s famed batting line-up imploded as South Africa clinched the first Test by 72 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at Newlands, Cape Town on Monday.Chasing 208 to register their first ever Test victory at Newlands, India crumbled for 135 in only 42.4 overs on the fourth day of the series opener.On a lively wicket, Vernon Philander was the chief destroyer recording figures of 6/42 for his first five-wicket haul in Tests since 2013.India had looked to seize control of the Test when they bowled South Africa out for 130 in the morning session. But found the home team attack on the seamer-friendly wicket too much of a challenge.After the third day was washed out, 18 wickets fell in 64 overs on Monday — all these wickets were pocketed by the seamers.KOHLI’S FAILURE WITH THE BATVirat Kohli had led from the front in what was a sensational journey for India at home over the last two years. It was therefore expected, the captain would once again lead the way in unfamiliar conditions but that was not to be – at least in the first Test. There was enough intent from the bowlers and from Hardik Pandya in the first innings but the second innings collapse should upset the captain, who thrives on excellence.While he would have been a prouder captain with the way his faster bowlers bowled in the match, his batsmen let him and the team down as India surrendered meekly.Kohli, who has smashed close to 5500 runs in international cricket in the last 24 months or so, came into the series on the back of consecutive Test double hundreds against Sri Lanka. He also recently became the first Test captain to smash six double centuries.advertisementReuters PhotoKohli was expected to replicate that form as India reached South Africa in hope of winning their first-ever series in the rainbow nation.However, Kohli failed in both the innings scoring 5 and 28 respectively.In the first innings, Kohli played at a rising delivery outside off-stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off speedster Morne Morkel.While in the second innings, the Indian captain looked in a better control but was trapped plumb in front for 28 by man-of-th-match Philander.ROHIT OVER RAHANE?An in-form Rohit Sharma was preferred over the tried, tested and successful Ajinkya Rahane, who has proven himself time and again in testing overseas condition.Many believe it was a gutsy call by coach Ravi Shastri and Kohli but the reality is that Rohit failed to deliver on the big stage.Rohit showed good temperament during the first innings and saw off the first hour of the second day’s play but was trapped plumb in front of his wickets for a painstaking 11 from 59 balls.In the second innings, India were chasing a tricky target for a victory on a pitch which assisted the pacers. After losing top three wickets early in their chase, captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fought back with a 30-run stand.Kohli was undone playing across a straight delivery from Philander and with his wicket possibly went India’s hopes. Rohit (10) soon followed suit when he dragged one onto his stumps off Philander, who finished with career-best 6/42.AP Photo130 RUNS BY THE TOP 5. NOT GOOD ENOUGHIndia’s top five combined for 130 runs in the match as compared to South Africa’s 234 by their top-five batsmen, courtesy two half-centuries in the first innings.India’s top order was among runs prior to the series but those runs were scored in India and conditions similar to sub-continental pitches in the West Indies and Sri Lanka.India’s top five will have to pull their socks up in the remaining two matches and reignite the spark to have a shot at at least drawing the series if not winning.While Kohli has defended Rohit’s inclusion ahead of Rahane in the playing XI for the first match, the skipper and the team management would have given Rahane another chance before dropping him given his overseas record.Rahane averages 53.44 in overseason conditions, including Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh while his average in South Africa rises to 69.66 from four innings.Decision to drop Rahane was bold but it backfired. Kohli, who has never fielded the same XI in consecutive Tests, may bring back the Mumbai batsman for the second Test as India seek fresh start at Centurion.THE POSITIVESAs expected India pacers lived up to their billing in dismissing South Africa for 286 and 130.It all started on the first hour of the first day when Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a devastating spell of pace bowling and picked a wicket in each of his first three overs to tear apart the South African batting line-up.advertisementBhuvneshwar finished with 4/87 from his 19 overs to help India bundle South Africa out for 286. Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets while Mohammed Shami, debutant Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya chipped in with one wicket apiece.India’s seamers, led by Mohammed Shami (3/28) exploited the lively Newlands wicket to tear through South Africa’s brittle batting line-up and bowled the hosts out for 130.Bumrah, who was picked ahead of veterans Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, was a nervous starter but he seems to have found his rhythm as he joined forces with Shami to dismiss the hosts for a low total.AP PhotoPANDYA HEROICSHardik Pandya starred with both bat and ball on the second day of the match on Saturday.After scoring a counter-attacking 93 off 95, Pandya got rid of the South African openers as the hosts reached 65/2 at the close of play to take a substantial lead of 142 runs.Earlier, Pandya defied the odds to smash runs all over the park on a pitch where top Indian batsmen struggled to score runs. Pandya struck a 93 off just 95 balls on the second day an innings studded with 14 fours and a six. His valiant effort helped India score 209 in reply to South Africa’s 286, who took a crucial 77-run first innings lead.Pandya came out all guns blazing and played his own game attacking the South Africa pace battery, which had ripped apart the Indian batting line-up and left the visitors reeling at 76/5.BCCI PhotoBut he took charge of the Indian innings to give the visitors some respectability, adding 99 runs with Bhuvneshwar for the eighth wicket.CAN INDIA BOUNCE BACK IN THE HIGHVELDS?India blew their chance in Cape Town and the challenge is going to be only stiffer up in Centurion for the second Test and Johannesburg for the third Test. South Africa won’t have Dale Steyn in their ranks but they have enough firepower to go with Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada. In fact, they might even contemplate adding an extra batsman to the line-up after the way India’s pacers bowled this week.There is not much time left to learn, recover and stay alive in the series. However, given the potential of their top-order and the experience in the ranks, fans would hope some sort of fightback this weekend. Do not yet count out Kohli, Pujara, Vijay and Dhawan. There is still plenty left in the series.