Day two of the second Test in Pune was a painful one for the Proteas – mentally, physically and spiritually.
They look a broken team and the scoreboard at the MCA Stadium indicates that. India declared their innings on 601/5, their captain Virat Kohli recording his highest Test score, 254 not out. South Africa were 36/3 at stumps, with both openers out, trailing India by 565 runs.
There weren’t many positives to draw from a South African perspective. They bowled well in patches, but missed two important windows of opportunity with both new balls. In those periods - on the first morning Thursday and the first session on Friday - the ball was flying passed the outside edge and batting looked challenging. South Africa took just one wicket across those periods. In 15 overs before stumps on Friday, the Indians showed them exactly how to make the new ball work.
It was emphatically Kohli’s day. The Indian captain’s innings was out of the very top drawer. Patient when he needed to be against the dangerous new ball, precise against a fiery post-lunch spell from Kagiso Rabada and then free-flowing as the Proteas withered in the afternoon heat.
The drives were classics and he pulled the short ball with frightening authority. It wasn’t until he reached 208 that Kohli gave South Africa a proper opportunity to dismiss him and even as Faf du Plessis took a fine catch at slip, the opportunity was spurned as Senuran Muthusamy was shown to have bowled a no-ball. In fact he bowled five no-balls in all and it’s a bad habit that the all-rounder really needs to erase from his game.