South Africa gained momentum in the third and final Test of the three-match Test series after dismantling India on Day One at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
The visitors were bowled out for a paltry 187 runs on a difficult pitch to bat on. South African pacers ran through the innings and made most use of the pitch that assisted pacers. India fought through in-form Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, but rest of the side once again disappointed. Only three batsmen got to double figures as it summed up India’s effort.
In reply the Proteas are 6/1 at stumps with Dean Elgar and Kagiso Rabada at the crease. The hosts lost Aiden Markram early in the innings with Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting his wicket. South Africa trail India by 181 runs and Day Two will be interesting to watch as the Indian pacers will be keen to stifle the batsmen and make batting hard.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 24, 2018
Earlier, India’s batsmen once again let their team down after Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first. The Proteas pacers bowled with a lot of steam and looking at the pitch one needed to hold on and be patient. But that was not to be seen. KL Rahul unsure of the ball’s swing, inside edged Vernon Philander to give a catch to Quinton de Kock. Murali Vijay was once again fishing outside the off-stump and edged Kagiso Rabada’s fuller delivery. India were suddenly reeling at 13/2.
Virat Kohli once again found himself inside the crease early and negotiated the Proteas pacers well. With runs coming hard to come by, Kohli knew he needed to stick along with Pujara and see out the threat. Kohli had a lifeline when Vernon Philander dropped a straightforward catch off Kagiso Rabada. Meanwhile, Pujara battled hard and was watchable throughout.
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He took 54 deliveries to get off the mark which was brought with big cheer and smiles all around the ground. He stood tall and saw India get to lunch at 45/2. Post lunch India weathered the early threat and suddenly there was a flurry of boundaries. ujara broke the shackles by punishing Philander’s back-to-back short and wide deliveries as Kohli played some scorching cover drives. The Indian captain was once again let off the hook with AB de Villiers dropping him at slips.
The duo brought up their third fifty plus partnership in South Africa and went on to stitch a 84-run stand for the third wicket. Kohli brought up his fifty with a superb pull shot, but soon perished nicking a ball off Lungi Ngidi to the slip cordon with AB making no mistake this time. Ngidi was delighted after getting Kohli for the 2nd time in two innings and got him to play and miss on several occasions.
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After Kohli’s dismissal, Ajinkya Rahane (9) could not make use of the chance he got after being dropped for the first two Tests. Morne Morkel got the ball to come back in with the angle after pitching and Rahane missed it completely to be rapped on the pad. India added 69 runs in the session and after tea the collapse started.
- Rahane has scored just 43 runs in his last 7 Test innings including this knock at an average of 6.14
- The scores read: 17, 4, 0, 2, 1, 10 & 9
Pujara’s grit and patience paid off as he got to a fighting 50 off 173 deliveries. The highlight of his innings was being disciplined outside the off-stump. It was an invaluable innings for the context of the game. In the end a lapse of concentration saw him losing his wicket. Andile Phehlukwayo, who was in his fifth over of the day managed to induce an outside edge. The ball came back in sharply and took Pujara’s edge.
Parthiv Patel and Hardik Pandya played woeful shots to get out next before the tail came in. If not for Bhuvneshwar’s little cameo that saw him score 29 runs, India could have been well short of the total they got to in the end. Credit to the South African bowlers who impressed with Kagiso Rabada leading the way.