INDIA TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA
Cricbuzz Staff •
Kohli mixed caution with aggression to keep the scorecard ticking over © AFP
India had suffered an early double blow that saw them deep in trouble, but Kohli and Vijay were able to stem the rot with some solid batting. Kohli got off to a flier, hitting a few well-timed drive to move into rhythm. Vijay, at the other end, was content playing the ball on merit, and stick to his strengths of leaving outside off.
Once Kohli had his eye in, he set himself into an usual groove, concentrating more on strike rotation and putting the bad balls away.
Vijay, with a new shuffle and a more stumpward guard, looked a prime candidate for LBW, but with the pitch not offering much sideways movement, the right-hander was able to keep his wicket intact. Vernon Philander tried to target the pads, but Vijay’s flicks were on the mark, and soon the plan to bowl at the pads were shelved. When the balls were in the channel outside off, he was good enough to leave them alone.
Ashwin had gotten appreciable turn when India bowled, and South Africa soon employed Keshav Maharaj to try and prise out a wicket. Philander also had the ‘keeper up to the stumps towards the end of the session. Vijay and Kohli, however, combined to ride through the phase.
Earlier, India got themselves off to a cautious start having bowled South Africa out for 335. KL Rahul and Vijay saw off the initial phases without much trouble. But against the run of play, India found themselves in the mire. Rahul’s uppish drive off a length ball went straight to the bowler, Morne Morkel, who took a sharp catch in his followthrough. Off the next ball, Cheteshwar Pujara clipped one off his pads and set off for a single. However, a mid pitch mix up saw him short of his crease when Lungi Ngidi found the stumps from mid-on.
Thankfully for India, Kohli and Vijay were able to get India back into the game.
Brief Scores: South Africa 335 (Aiden Markram 94, Faf du Plessis 63; R Ashwin 4-113, Ishant Sharma 3-46) lead India 80/2 (Virat Kohli 39*; Morne Morkel 1-24) by 255 runs.