South African Test: Kohli plays skipper's knock

"I believe the game is still hanging in a balance".

"Virat and the umpires had a discussion on the situation post rain, as the outfield was wet when we came out to play". On the field, India's players repeatedly showed the wet ball to the umpires and made a point of drying the ball with towels, but the officials were insistent that the game should go on. Bowling certain lengths, certain lines, we've got that small window to make a play. With the Indian pacers bowling a much more disciplined line and the ball also starting to reverse, apart from Ashwin getting turn and bounce, it was important for the South Africans to get a partnership going and this is where de Villiers stood up and got counted.

"Intent" has become something of a meme when it comes to Kohli after his utterances on the subject, though he did clarify that by intent he didn't mean a batsman looking to score off every ball but rather one who was confident at the crease.

On way to his 21st Test century, Kohli broke records.

He was last man out when he was caught in the deep off Morne Morkel, hitting to one of eight fielders on the boundary as he tried to squeeze some extra runs with his tailenders.

But he also felt a little disgruntled, saying the pitch was reminiscent of those usually found in India. "These are not the conditions that we want in South Africa". We even took the option to open in the over before lunch with a spinner.

Kohli and Ashwin (38) put on 71 for the seventh wicket before the second new ball hastened the end of the innings.

SA had been rocked earlier by a double strike from Indian seamer Jasprit Bumrah (2/30), who trapped Aiden Markram (1) and Hashim Amla (1) lbw with deliveries that skidded through after keeping low. Pujara kicked himself as he walked back to the pavilion, as did Vijay (46) who tried to cut a ball that was not there for the shot, but, when the fifth wicket fell it was Kohli's turn to express disappointment, flinging down his gloves.

The batsman went for review but was given out on umpire's call with the ball clipping the top of middle stump.

During the second innings, Elgar's struggle against the moving balls bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin looked real.

South Africa were 3/2 at one stage in their second innings but an unbroken partnership of 87 runs between AB de Villiers (50*) and Dean Elgar (36*) took their score to 90/2 when bad light forced stumps on day three, with the hosts in a comfortable lead of 118 runs.

  • Salvatore Jensen