Virat Kohli’s men had nothing to lose and everything to gain in the third test match against South Africa at the New Wanderers today. Winning the toss, Kohli showed good intent when he decided to bat first on a green top under overcast conditions.
“We are going to bat first. There is a good grass covering here and it’s always been there. If we bat first and bat well, it’s always an added advantage. (On the good record at Jo’burg) We’ve played some really good cricket here.:
“Even the last time around, we did well. Should be a good contest. We are up against a side who are really strong in their conditions as they have shown in the first two Tests. We are trying to improve as a side and correct our mistakes. It’s never too late to do it. We have two changes. Rahane replaces Rohit and Bhuvneshwar comes in for Ashwin.”
But unfortunately for India, their openers did not show the same level of intent as their captain, as Philander, Morkel and Rabada had a field day against Vijay and Rahul in the opening 20 minutes.
Philander got rid of Rahul for nought before Rabada dismissed Vijay soon after that. Not for the first time, Kohli and Pujara were tasked with rebuilding the Indian innings, as the pair had to hold fort at all costs.
While Kohli got a few shots off the middle of the bat, Pujara looked extremely uncomfortable against the South African pace battery.
India’s number three also survived a couple of close LBW appeals, as everything considered, Pujara was quite lucky to still be in the middle.
The Indian dressing room could see the funny side, as everyone started laughing and cheering Pujara for his ‘big’ moment. Even the batsman could not suppress a smile, as Pujara gave a sheepish grin after taking in the cheers from his team mates.