Indian captain Virat Kohli showed outstanding control, both defensively and when he chose to attack. Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

JOHANNESBURG – Virat Kohli’s 26th Test century, drove India into a position of almost total dominance on the second morning of the second Test against South Africa in Pune on Friday.

The Indian captain, showing outstanding control, both defensively and when he chose to attack, ensured that the Proteas endured yet another frustrating session in a series where the tourists have largely played second fiddle to the home team. 

Kohli had to get through some tough periods; the second new ball in heavily overcast conditions on the first evening on Thursday and then in the first hour of the second morning, with Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, getting plenty of movement off the surface.

The landmark also released the pressure that had been building on Kohli in the last few months as he’d failed to notch a century in his previous five Tests. For an ordinary player, that would be fine, but Kohli sets extremely high standards, and is measured amongst the all-time greats to have played the game. 

His previous Test hundred had come against Australia in Perth in 2018, an historic tour for Kohli and for India cricket as that 2-1 series triumph represented their first series win in that country. 

Kohli and Ajinkye Rahane batted through the morning session Friday taking India to lunch on 356/3 - their partnership currently worth 158 runs.

The first hour proved very challenging with Philander and Rabada probing around the off stump, getting the ball to nip away sharply. While the bowlers did find the outside edge on a few occasions, frustratingly for the tourists the ball fell short of the slips cordon. Rahane, although he looked nervous, managed to settle himself down after the drinks break and went to a 20th Test half-century. 

Kohli reached his hundred with a beautiful straight drive off Philander and went into the lunch break on 104, having hit 16 fours. Rahane’s 58 included eight fours. 

@shockerhess

 

The Star

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