PTI Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Jan 26, 2018, 11.07 AM
Opener Murali Vijay and skipper Virat Kohli showed lot of grit on a treacherous track as India reached 100 for 4 against South Africa at lunch on the third day, thereby extending their overall lead to 93.
Vijay was out at the stroke of lunch when Kagiso Rabada's yorker cleaned him up after he showed a lot of patience scoring 25 off 127 balls during his three hour and 14 minutes vigil at the crease.
Kohli as usual showed his class with some crisp on drives as he reached 27 off 49 balls at the break having added 43 runs for the fourth wicket after KL Rahul (16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (1) were dismissed early in the morning.
However, the talk of the morning was about the uneven bounce of the Wanderers track with some of the cracks on good length and short of it opening up.
With deliveries rearing up and keeping low from the same spot from the Corlett Drive End, it became difficult for the batsmen with on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould inspecting a few spots on the track.
First, Kohli was hit on the right hand in the 31st over.
Then, Vijay was hit on the left hand in the 35th over. Kagiso Rabada (1-31) was the bowler on both occasions.
At the second instance, the umpires and both captains had a long chat in the middle as well.
Michael Holding on air called it a pitch which he rated as "2 out of 100" and called for ICC sanction.
In fact the former West Indies paceman went ahead and felt that some of the batsmen could be seriously hurt as everyone does not have the technique and big heart like Kohli.
"I understand Virat Kohli wants to play but not everyone can handle what he can," said Holding.
In the morning Rahul (16) chased one off Vernon Philander (2-21) and was caught at the second slip.
Three overs later, India were reduced to 57/3 as Cheteshwar Pujara (1) was caught at second slip too, this time off Morne Morkel (1-13). The ball just reared up off length and took the bat's shoulder and Pujara could do nothing about it.
This brought Kohli and Vijay together, and the duo batted out 18.5 overs. Initially, they went through a tough passage with a lot of plays and misses.
Kohli (on 4) got a life, when Aiden Markram couldn't latch on to a tough half-chance at short leg off Morkel. The ball was hit straight to his hands but the reaction time was too short to make it a proper chance.
The Indian skipper then settled down and opened up to play a few more attacking shots. Vijay was down for the grind too and, for the first time in the series, held up one end for India in really tough conditions.
India crossed 100 in the 40th over. Five balls later, Rabada got the breakthrough the Proteas were looking for.
After fending length balls on a tough pitch, Vijay was bowled off a yorker that took an inside edge, ricocheted off his backfoot and onto the stumps.