By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 18, 2013
Virat Kohli has anchored India on Day One of the first Test against South Africa at Johannesburg as the tourists are 164 for four at tea. India lost the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara as he was run-out for 25 due to a horrible mix-up. Later, they also lost Rohit Sharma as he chased a widish delivery from Vernon Philander and was caught by the wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Kohli and Pujara started the second session at 70 for two and were a little cautiously as they were getting their eye in again. Kohli, in particular, looked in great touch and was ready to punish anything. He maintained a very good scoring rate. After a circumspect start, he got things going with a boundary off Philander through the off-side.
Dale Steyn was trying to unsettl Pujara by continuously changing from over to round the wicket. The tactic didn’t quite work in the only over it was tried as Pujara played it calmly. Later, when Steyn pitched it short to Kohli, he pulled it with good control to the square-leg boundary for four. Imran Tahir was targeted by Kohli and whenever he pitched short, he was carted to mid-wicket for four. Kohli got to his half-century in that manner. He also drove him through the covers for four when he over-pitched it.
However, Pujara was dismissed when Kohli dabbed Tahir to the leg side and set-off. Pujara had nearly reached the striker’s end when Kohli sent him back. By then, it was too late and Pujara was run-out for 25.
Rohit joined Kohli in the centre and the latter had a few jitters while running. On one occasion, Rohit sent him back and the incoming throw took Kohli’s bat and went for four overthrows.
But, Kohli looked in magnificent form and was in touch. Steyn and Jacques Kallis were gracefully punched down the ground to pick boundaries as he now looked in his zone. Anything that was short and in the area, Kohli swiveled to pull it.
Ajinkya Rahane joined Kohli at the fall of Rohit’s wicket and went into tea unbeaten on 12. He got off the mark by working Philander through mid-wicket for four. Tahir was also dispatched through mid-wicket and then straight down the ground for fours by Rahane in the last over before tea.
India 164 for 4 (Cheteshwar Pujara 25; Virat Kohli 84*; Dale Steyn 1 for 36, Vernon Philander 1 for 38, Morne Morkel 1 for 18) vs South Africa.
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