In a remarkable day of Test cricket which saw Indian captain Virat Kohli bring up his seventh Test double century, India lead South Africa by 565 runs going into Day 3, with the visitors’ score reading 36 for 3 at the end of the day.
Kohli, who till the beginning of the day had not scored a Test century this calendar year ended unbeaten on 254 in the third session, when he decided to declare the innings with India batting on 601/5. Ravindra Jadeja’s dismissal on 91, trying to accelerate the scoring in the last session which saw the run-rate go above 8 runs per over triggered the declaration.
India started the day with Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Vernon Philander did well to induce a couple of mistakes from Kohli early in the day which fell short of the slips, and served as an early warning sign for the Indian captain.
But once he got his eye in, he notched up his 26th Test hundred right before lunch, through a trademark straight drive that went for four. Rahane brought up his fifty and India went into lunch at 356/3.
Soon after the resumption of play after lunch, Rahane fell to the spin of Keshav Maharaj – the South African’s 100th Test scalp – for 59 runs off 168 balls.
In came Ravindra Jadeja, who was promoted up the order, and started what would turn out to be the biggest partnership of the day for India with Kohli. The pair ran hard between the wickets, and punished the likes of Maharaj and Rabada. Kohli had Rabada’s number in particular, hitting him for three boundaries in one over, much to the ire of the South African quick.
Things were not going on the field for South Africa, and the second session was a litany of misfields, overthrows and some very ordinary bowling that did not challenge either Kohli or Jadeja.
India went into Tea with Kohli batting at 194, needing only six runs for a seventh double ton, to put him in second spot on the all-time list of batsmen with most Test double centuries.
When the third session started, he reached his double century in no time, but it seemed like his stay at the crease would be cut short when Muthusamy dismissed the Indian captain. However, right as Kohli was beginning to walk back to the pavilion, replays showed that the South African spinner had bowled a big no ball, and he would continue to pile on a mountain of runs post that.
The session run-rate went at above 8 an over from that point on, with the Indian batsmen targeting the spinners. Kohli crossed 250, but shortly after, Jadeja’s dismissal on 91 meant that India declared with the score at 601/5.
Batting for the first time in the match, South Africa could not have gotten off to a worse start when Aiden Markram fell to the bowling of Umesh Yadav in just the second over, LBW for a duck. Things got worse when Dean Elgar followed in the fourth over, bowled once more by Yadav when he couldn’t decide whether to play the ball or leave, ending up chopping the ball onto his own stumps.
Theunis de Bruyn provided some resistance against the Indian bowling attack, playing a couple of free-flowing drives, but it was only a few more overs before South Africa lost their third wicket, Temba Bavuma dismissed was for eight runs off 15 balls, caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha, this time off the bowling of Shami.
Fortunately for the visitors, they did not lose any more wickets till the end of the day, finishing on 36/3, with India capping off a day in which they dominated in all departments.
Confirming for the first time an official involvement of the United Arab Emirates in the I…