CENTURION: South Africa reached 90/2 in their second innings after bowling out India’s first outing for 307 runs on the third day of the second cricket Test at the SuperSport Park here on Monday.
AB de Villiers (50) and Dean Elgar (36) were at the crease for South Africa, who have a lead of 118 runs over the visitors after the latter conceded a 28-run first-innings lead despite a stellar 153 from their captain Virat Kohli.
De Villiers and Elgar put together an unbeaten partnership of 87 as bad light and rain disrupted majority of the post-tea session.
Earlier in the day, Kohli registered his 21st century in Test cricket with his knock, that featured 15 fours, rallying the Indian innings which resumed Monday’s play 183/5.
Kohli, who was the last Indian wicket to fall, forged a crucial 71-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Ravichandran Ashwin (38) to stabilise the innings.
The partnership helped India to recover from the early loss of overnight batsman Hardik Pandya (15), who ran himself out. The Baroda all-rounder wanted to take a single off pacer Kagiso Rabada with a tap to mid-on but Kohli refused and the former ran back only to see a direct throw from Vernon Philander catch him short of the crease.
Before the run out, Kohli completed his century with a tap to mid-wicket for a single off Lungisani Ngidi to get to his three-figure mark before running back after an overthrow.
Kohli continued from where he left on Sunday’s unbeaten knock of 85. He stamped his authority over the Proteas bowlers and kept on punishing the bad balls.
Ashwin played a stroke-filled knock of 38 in 54 balls. He supported Kohli perfectly at the other end to put pressure on the opponents.
Just when things seemed good in the middle for India, Ashwin was dismissed through a poor shot selection off Philander, edging it to Faf du Plesis at the second slip. At this moment, India were 280/6, still 55 runs behind South Africa’s first innings of 335.
Mohammad Shami (1) then came in the middle and survived only seven deliveries. He failed to fend off a rising delivery from Morne Morkel, managing only an edge to Hashim Amla at first slip.
Morkel made Ishant Sharma (3) his third victim. He threw down a barrage of bouncers. One of the bouncers forced Ishant to meet the ball with his bat. And the ball went straight at Aiden Markram at short-leg.
Kohli, while trying to pace up the innings at his end, was then caught by de Villiers at long-on off Morkel to end the Indian innings.
The hosts began their second innings on a disastrous fashion. With only three runs on the board, pacer Jasprit Bumrah pegged back South Africa with two quick wickets of in-form Aiden Markram (1) and experienced batsman Hashim Amla (1). Both Proteas batsmen were adjudged leg before wicket.
Afterwards, Elgar and de Villiers resurrected the innings. Elgar survived some nervy moments with outside edges and inside edges not going to the Indian fielders.
Rain interrupted play for an hour. And when the match resumed, luck continued to favour Elgar. At his personal score of 29, the left-hander edged a delivery from Bumrah. But wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel let it go, thinking it was first slip fielder Cheteshwar Pujara’s catch.
At the other end, de Villiers played a dominating knock. A batsman of high pedigree, de Villiers struck six fours as he had answers to whatever Ishant, Bumrah and Ashwin bowled at him.
Later, due to bad light, umpires decided to suspend the match for a while before taking the final call of ending the day’s play.