India concede lead after Kohli's gem

India concede lead after Kohli's gem

The standing ovation from the sparse crowd, who otherwise have been firmly behind the home side, captured best Virat Kohli's gem.

As the Indian skipper ran of partners one by one, he had no choice but to go for his shots instead of putting at risk the tail-enders limbs and in the process holed out at long on for a well made 153 (217b, 15x4), his highest score against South Africa. Kohli was the last man to fall as the Indian innings came to an end at 307 all out in 92.1 overs, just 7.1 overs after lunch. India thus conceded a 28-run lead.

Kohli, overnight 85, brought up his 21st  career hundred and the second in South Africa early on the third morning but his partner Hardik Pandya committed hara-kiri soon when the going looked good for the tourists. Having defended Kagiso Rabada to mid-on, Pandya wanted to take on Vernon Philander but was rightly sent back by Kohli. Pandya instead of hurrying in was seen moonwalking into the crease. Philander didn't miss the target and replays confirmed both Pandya's leg and bat were in the air.

India needed Kohli-Pandya partnership to prolong to cut down South Africa's advantage but R Ashwin (38) provided that stand with chancy but productive innings. The right-hander, who creamed Rabada for three consecutive fours on the off, added 71 runs for the seventh wicket to frustrate the home attack. While there were as many good balls that could have taken out Ashwin any time, the 31-year-old made most of the scoring opportunities, striking as many as seven fours in his 54-ball stay.        

The new-ball finally did the trick for South Africa when Philander forced Ashwin to dab at an away swinger for Faf du Plessis to take a straightforward but sharp catch at second slip. Mohammad Shami lasted nine balls, edging Morne Morkel to Hashim Amla at third slip, and just when it seemed Indian innings would be rolled over before lunch, Ishant remained unbeaten with Kohli forming the strike beautifully.

Brief scores: South Africa: 335 all out vs India (O/n: 183/5): 307 all out in 92.1 overs (Virat Kohli 153, R Ashwin 38; Morne Morkel 4-60).  

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