CENTURION – India struck two major blows in the afternoon session to gain control of this second Sunfoil Test between South Africa and India, following one of the greatest innings seen by any batsmen on South African soil.
Virat Kohli’s magnificent 151 out of India’s first innings total of 307 is the defining performance of this match, and it has the tourists feeling bullish about their prospects of tying this series and creating a decider at the Wanderers next week.
South Africa reached 60/2 at tea, a lead of just 88 runs with AB de Villiers on 33 and Dean Elgar on 23.
Jasprit Bumrah struck twice. The first South African batsmen to lose his wicket in the second innings was Aiden Markram who was trapped on the knee roll of the back leg by one that slanted back into him by Bumrah’s second ball, while Hashim Amla was undone by one that kept low, both batsmen making just one.
At 3/2 South Africa were immediately in trouble, until De De VIlliers and Elgar restored some order with a partnership of 57 that has been noteworthy for the aggression with which De Villiers has played - hitting five boundaries off 42 balls - while Elgar, despite struggling against Ravi Ashwin, who’s gotten a couple of balls, spin angrily out of the rough, and break through the surface, has gradually grown in confidence
Earlier Kohli’s sublime performance helped India stay in touch and on a wearing surface they may even feel they are favourites, given how well Ashwin performed in taking four wickets in South Africa’s first innings.
Kohli batted for 379 minutes producing an innings of the highest quality that clearly illustrated why he is regarded as the modern greats of the game. It was a performance that contained barely a false stroke and he was beaten outside the edge only a handful of times.
Had he been able to find anyone who could stay with him for any reasonable length of time, India may have scratched out a psychologically important lead for themselves. However it was a demonstration of the difference in class between Kohli and his teammates - and any other batsmen in this match for that matter - that no batsman has looked comfortable on this surface.
Kohli hit 15 fours in his innings.
Morne Morkel, wrapped up the Indian tail and finished as South Africa’s most successful bowler, claiming 4/60, while the there was one wicket apiece for the rest of the attack, to go along two run outs.