Centurion Test: Brilliant Kohli leads India resistance
Jan 16 2018 by Dustin Murphy
Having taken a while to get going with Dean Elgar at the top of the innings, Markram began to find his touch in the last half-hour of the first session.
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled 31 overs on day one, opened the bowling for his side on day three and even South Africa tossed the new ball to Keshav Maharaj when they had one over to bowl before lunch on day two in India's first innings. Amla went for a flick and missed and was adjudged leg before wicket. It was ideally the keeper's catch, and Elgar-de Villiers remained undeterred. Elgar survived some nervy moments with outside edges and inside edges not going to the Indian fielders.
After a short, sharp thunderstorm interrupted the final session's play, the umpires announced at around 4.12pm that play would resume at 4.20pm. He continued to wait for the bad balls to score off and dug out the good ones as Elgar played the flawless second fiddle. At his personal score of 29, the left-hander edged a delivery from Bumrah.
Afterwards, Elgar and de Villiers resurrected the innings. Ngidi replaced Rabada and bowled even quicker than him.
Often criticised for being a global superstar who struggles to impact Test matches against quality opposition away from home, Kohli played with objective from ball one and immediately found the middle of the bat.
Although he impressed en route to figures of 1-26 from nine overs, Ngidi revealed he had been affected by nerves as he prepared to bowl for the first time in Tests.
He hit 15 fours at Centurion, faced 217 balls, and was at the crease for over six hours in an effort to drag his team back into the contest. It was Kohli's 21st ton in Test cricket as he became the only second Indian captain after the legendary Sachin Tendulkar to achieve the milestone in South Africa.
In walked Ashwin. South Africa had targeted his body in Cape Town as well, and Rabada had greeted him to the crease by hitting him on the index finger of his right hand.
AB de Villiers was utilising every iota of skill and applying all of his will to wrench back control of this second Sunfoil Test following an innings of staggering quality by Virat Kohli.
Kohli's only real help on the third day came from Ravichandran Ashwin, who hit seven fours in his 38 and stuck around with Kohli for almost 15 overs in a partnership of 71 for the seventh wicket.
The partnership helped India to recover from the early loss of overnight batsman Hardik Pandya (15), who ran himself out. At stumps on Day Three, it is advantage South Africa with an overall lead of 118. The bowler would have probably thought a good plan was to keep the ball in the channel, get it to move away.
Ashwin played a stroke-filled knock of 38 in 54 balls. "It made me really happy and I now believe that I can perform at this level", he said.
Mohammed Shami was also caught soon after off a Morne Morkel delivery.
Du Plessis went to his 17th Test half-century and was undone by a wonderful in-swinger by Ishant Sharma, that ripped out his middle stump.