After winning the toss in the third Test at Wanderers against South Africa, Indian skipper Virat Kohli elected to bat first. Considering the pitch was on a greener side, it appeared like a strange decision from the 29-year old. Making most of the pitch, Proteas’ seamers rattled India’s opening pair, with Vernon Philander providing the early breakthrough in his second over. KL Rahul departed without scoring a single run, knicking one straight to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps. Murali Vijay too departed in a similar fashion soon after, getting out to Kagiso Rabada.
Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli stabilised the innings after two early wickets and stitched a strong 84-run partnership. Pujara played an intelligent but slow innings, taking 53 balls to get off the mark.
Kohli went on to score his 16th Test fifty but failed to convert it into his second century in the series as he departed for 54, edging the ball straight to AB de Villiers at slips off Lungi Ngidi. Pujara too went on to complete his half century in 178 balls, but he too could not make the most of the opportunity and he departed on 50.
Apart from the two, none of the other batsmen failed to could contribute much to India’s cause. Ajinkya Rahane, who was making a return to the side in place of Rohit Sharma, departed on 9, while Hardik Pandya failed to score a single run, playing a silly shot to give away his wicket off Morne Morkel.
4 out of 11 batsmen did not score a single run in Indian innings, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained the only one apart from Kohli and Pujara, who went on to score a double digit score.
Kumar’s late cameo of 30 runs took India to 187. After surviving some scary moments in the middle, Kumar was finally caught by Kagiso Rabada on Andile Phehlukwayo’s delivery as India’s 1st innings came to an end.
India trail the three-Test series 2-0 and are looking to avoid a whitewash – something they’ve never faced in South Africa since the tours began following the apartheid era in 1992.