Sports

Kohli keeps sniffing Proteas at bay

Kohli keeps sniffing Proteas at bay

But the man of the day has been Virat Kohli whose gutsy unbeaten 85 has still kept India in the hunt.

South Africa profited with what could be crucial first innings runs through this period, before Rabada was superbly caught by, ironically, Pandya at deep mid-wicket as he attempted a hook off the excellent Ishant Sharma (3-46).

Earlier in the day, South Africa were bowled out for 335.

However, India will be frustrated at four spurned chances to end the partnership early, including the rarity of three dropped catches in two balls, all off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (4-113). India will resume from the overnight 183/5 while trailing South Africa by 152 runs at Centurion. After that Faf du Plessis and Rabadda added 42 runs for the 8th wicket. He revealed that he was in line to play the first Test but didn't take the field in Cape Town owing to illness.

"Obviously, I am the senior fast bowler of this team so I have to take responsibility [of bowling in hard conditions]".

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Parthiv too had an opportunity to press his case ahead of Wriddhiman Saha, but though he looked confident during his stay, he went down as Ngidi's first Test victim. I was talking to Vernon in terms of game plans on how to get that wicket. "It was kind of hit on my professional pride and from there on I knew I had to work on certain things", Ashwin said while addressing the media post the match here. Talking about the pitch, he outlined that it is still good for batting and nothing could be ascertained about how it would play in the fourth innings when India are scheduled to bat last.

He had gone wicket-less in the Johannesburg Test in 2013, as India had failed to win from an advantageous position on day five. But they were dismissed nearly against the run of play and the surrender, of sorts, allowed South Africa to smile. This pitch is not the kind where you run through batting line-ups and unless there is tremendous variable bounce from indentations as the match goes on, collapses can be avoided through careful application.

Having won the toss and opting to bat first, the Proteas got off to a decent start with openers Dean Elgar (31) and Aiden Markram (94) tackling the Indian bowlers well. With South Africa putting on 335 on the board and India losing both KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara with the score on 28, it was imperative that Kohli showed intent.

Ashwin said he worked on his bowling and hoped to emerge as a better bowler after this series.

The Indian skipper was saved by a faint inside edge on a ball from debutant Lungi Ngidi late in the day which was crashing into his stumps. Hashim Amla, who had been dropped by Parthiv Patel on 30, playing down the leg side, made India pay, getting to 82. He is now involved in a 19-run stand with Hardik Pandya, who is batting on 11.


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