IND vs SA: Virat Kohli’s patient 79 helps India finish Day 1 on 223, Proteas score 17-1

Loads of patience and grit got tested but Kagiso Rabada had the last laugh as he took the wicket of Virat Kohli, which almost ended India’s innings on Day 1 of the third and final Test in Newlands in Cape Town.

In the decider clash between India and South Africa, the visitors won the toss and opted to bat first in the overcast conditions. The host nation, however, was on the happier side as they dismissed the Indian batting line-up for 223 in the first innings.

Indian bowlers also started on a positive note as Jasprit Bumrah drew the first blood sending the back captain Dean Elgar who scored three runs. Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj came to the crease and South Africa scored 17 runs at Stumps.

Earlier, things did not go according to plan for India after both openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal looked steady before Duanne Olivier struck for the hosts, sending the vice-captain back. Mayank soon followed Rahul to the dressing room as Rabada got South Africa their second breakthrough. 

With two new batters at the crease, Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara made sure to steady India’s innings as South Africa had their tails up. The Indian duo battled their way through to take India to 75 for 2 at lunch.

However, Pujara wicket saw the Proteas back in action. In no time they even got the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane who scored only nine runs. Despite losing Pujara and Rahane quickly after lunch, Kohli and Rishabh Pant steadied things and ensured India did not have any more casualties till tea. 

However, that too did not go as planned as the Indian wicketkeeper again went to hit a shot giving away his wicket. R Ashwin joined Kohli at the crease, but could not contribute much as he was sent back by Marco Jansen for two runs.

Kohli still continued despite losing players on the other end. He was joined by Shardul Thakur, who came in and hit the ball around and even smashed a maximum. He scored 12 off nine balls but fell to spinner Keshav Maharaj – who got his wicket of the series. 

After his dismissal, Jasprit Bumrah came to the crease and stayed for nine balls, but got out for a duck. However, he looked in pain after getting out as the ball hit his hand – precisely his fingers.

Kohli, being frustrated, started hitting the ball and did get some boundaries, but in the battle between the skipper and Rabada, the bowler won. He had been moving around the crease a lot and played shots that did not need to be played, just to get some extra runs for his team. 

The ball nicked and went through to Verreynne who did the rest. There was a check for the front-foot no-ball but Rabada was just about fine. Sadly for Kohli, he had little support from his other batters and he missed his well-deserved century as he walked back after scoring 79(201).

Ever since scoring his maiden double century (his 12th career 100) in North Sound in June 2016, this is the first time Kohli’s number of half-centuries (28) has exceeded centuries (27) for Virat Kohli in his Test career.

All the bowlers had a wicket each with Kagiso Rabada leading the pack with four wickets to his name. Marco Jansen picked three while Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj took a wicket each.


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