Cheteshwar Pujara ran himself out for a golden duck © AFP
Cheteshwar Pujara ran himself out for a golden duck © AFP

Virat Kohli complimented his intent talk with the bat, and has added a vital 52-run stand with Murali Vijay before tea on Day Two versus South Africa. Resuming from 4 for no loss, India are 80 for 2 at the break. They still trail South Africa by 255 runs. Nonetheless, Kohli looks positive and Vijay is much composed to take the innings forward.

KL Rahul and Vijay commenced proceedings after lunch. Vijay paid the price by coming hard at the ball in Cape Town, but has seemed to learn from his mistakes. He was patient and content in leaving the balls outside off stump. In addition, Vijay shuffled across and played the balls late to time his flicks. The shot is his strength, and he backed it rather than getting bogged down after the first Test failure. Also, he was solid in his forward defence and drove with purpose, keeping the ball down.

However, Vijay lost Rahul soon. Rahul was following Vijay’s path — offering no shot to balls pitched outside off — but gave a low return catch to Morne Morkel. It isn’t easy for a tall bowler, but Morkel made the catch look simple.

Cheteshwar Pujara, at No. 3, flicked his first delivery only to get run out. He took on debutant Lungisani Ngidi, but a direct hit got the better of him. (Maybe, the intent talk got into Pujara’s head).

Note: This is Pujara’s maiden golden duck in Tests. The last time Pujara was dismissed for no score, he was run out. It came in 2016-17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Dharamsala.

Trivia: Interestingly, this is a rare instance of both sides’ No. 3 batsmen getting run out.

Following two quick dismissals, Kohli walked out with his usual swagger. He showed intent and was positive from ball one. Kohli came to the pitch of the ball, timed his drives and was quick on his feet. So far, South Africa have tried to pitch the ball outside off stump versus Kohli (Kagiso Rabada tried sledging the Indian skipper as well), but the batsman has refrained. He has kept the scoreboard moving.

On the other hand, Vijay has kept his composure and negated the slightest of movements off the track. The pitch is conducive for batting, and if India do not lead to self-implosion, they should be able to finish the day on a high.

From South Africa’s perspective, Faf du Plessis has rotated his bowlers and given them short spells. He would look for an opening post tea.

Brief scores

South Africa 335 all-out (Aiden Markram 94, Hashim Amla 82, Faf du Plessis 63; Ravichandran Ashwin 4 for 113, Ishant Sharma 3 for 46) lead India 80 for 2 (Murali Vijay 31*, Virat Kohli 39*; Morne Morkel 1 for 24) by 255 runs.