January 15, 2018 10:14:22 pm
Virat Kohli kept India’s hopes alive on the third day of the second Test against South Africa in Centurion with his 21st Test century. Indian captain’s 153 carried the visitors to 307, just 28 behind Proteas’ first innings total of 335. Resuming the third day at 183/5, Kohli fought hard to keep India alive in the contest. After losing Hardik Pandya early due to a bizarre run-out, Kohli combined well with R Ashwin and the pair added runs at brisk pace before the second new ball became available.
Ashwin contributed a valuable 38 before he became Vernon Philander’s first scalp of the match. Operating with the new ball, Philander invited Ashwin for the drive and the right-hander fell in the trap. He played away from the body and only managed a thick outside edge was neatly collected by Faf du Plessis at second slip. Next man in Mohammed Shami too didn’t last long as he was dismissed in the very next over.
Seeing wickts tumble at the other end, Kohli switched gears and started playing his shots. In the meantime, India lost Ishant Sharma who fought before Morne Morkel trapped him with the short-ball plan. With Jasprit Bumrah the only batsman left, it was on Kohli to push the team over the 335-run mark but he perished. Looking to go big, the right-hander played one straight down AB de Villiers’ throat in the deep and India were bundled out for 307.
Apart from Kohli, Murali Vijay and R Ashwin, no other batsman made a substantial contribution and two of them – Cheteshwar Pujara and Pandya – were dismissed in frustrating manner. Kohli’s 153 was only the second hundred by an Indian captain in South Africa. Only Sachin Tendulkar had done it in the past.
AB leads reply
The Proteas were in trouble early during their second innings as Jasprit Bumrah removed Aiden Markran and Hashim Amla cheaply inside the first six overs. With the scoreboard reading 3/2, they needed a steady stand and AB de Villiers (50*) and Dean Elgar (36*) gave the side just what the situation ordered. Not only did they bailed the side out of trouble, their fluent play helped the hosts take a crucial 118-run lead and end the day in a commanding position. South Africa were 90/2 when the play was called off due to bad light.
Onus, on Day 4, will again be on AB to swell the lead and India will bank on their seamers, and lone spinner Ashwin, to give them early breakthroughs.
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