KOHLI DOU­BLES THE FUN Skip­per’s Un­beaten 254, Jadeja’s Quick­fire 91 Flat­ten SA; Vis­i­tors Reel­ing At 36/3 On Day 2

MARY KOM, THREE OTHER IN­DI­ANS FIGHT WORLD BOX­ING SEMI­FI­NAL BOUTS TO­DAY | 28 MOST DOU­BLE HUN­DREDS AS CAP­TAIN IN TESTS

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Amit.Kar­[email protected] times­group.com In­dia, 1st In­nings: M Agar­wal c du Plessis b Rabada 108, R Sharma c de Kock b Rabada 14, C Pu­jara c du Plessis b Rabada 58, V Kohli not out 254, A Ra­hane c de Kock b Ma­haraj 59, R Jadeja c de Bruyn b Muthusamy 91; Ex­tras (lb

Pune: Three-day Test or four-day Test? That’s the ques­tion that was on ev­ery­one’s mind at the end of Day Two of the sec­ond Test be­tween hosts In­dia and South Africa here at Gahunje on Fri­day. South Africa would hope that they would still be on the park try­ing to sal­vage a draw on Day Five.

It looks dif­fi­cult though, as they slumped to 36 for 3 re­ply­ing to In­dia’s 601-5 de­clared in the first in­nings. No play was lost on the sec­ond day de­spite the per­sis­tent threat of rain and the pitch too was kind to those who were will­ing to put in ef­fort. Vi­rat Kohli hit a clin­i­cal dou­ble hun­dred (254 off 336b, 33x4s, 2x6s) and even al­lowed Ravin­dra Jadeja to go for his ton (91, 104b, 8x4s, 2x6s). Vice-cap­tain Ajinkya Ra­hane also scored an ul­tra­cau­tious half cen­tury (59 off 168 balls).

South Africa strug­gled to take two wick­ets for about 95 overs af­ter the fall of Mayank Agar­wal. But In­dia got their first two wick­ets in just four overs. The pe­cu­liar na­ture of Test cricket — when you put a moun­tain of runs on the board and ask the op­po­si­tion to bat for that tricky last hour — was on dis­play.

Kohli’s was a cap­tain’s in­nings of supreme will power and in­ten­sity. He con­cen­trated on all as­pects of bats­man­ship: sur­viv­ing the rough pe­riod, mixed de­fence with of­fence, stole runs, en­cour­aged his bat­ting part­ners and deflated the morale of the op­po­si­tion. Jadeja started slowly. But af­ter In­dia crossed 450, he showed off his un­con­ven­tional shot-mak­ing. He scored his first 32 runs off 70 and the next 59 off 34.

In 39.1 overs, the Kohli-Jadeja duo added 225 runs for the fifth wicket (run rate 5.74). They plun­dered the last 136 runs in 17.3 overs. Yes, a par score in a T20 game. So or­di­nary was the South African at­tack and field­ing ef­fort.

The vis­i­tors quar­relled among them­selves in the mid­dle. Maybe it was a healthy de­bate. But none among the three pac­ers bowled in the last 18 overs and Rabada didn’t bowl for al­most two and a half hours. If you wanted an ex­am­ple of help­less body lan­guage, you had to look at the South Africans, who were hop­ing for wick­ets and er­rors from the In­dian bats­men.

In­dia could score only 159 runs off 56 overs from South African pace­men Ver­non Phi­lan­der and Kag­iso Rabada. But off the 84.3 overs of the other three bowlers, they milked al­most 400 runs. And then they say in the press con­fer­ence “there was no plan as such!”

South Africa pan­icked un­der pres­sure and cap­tain Faf du Plessis changed the bat­ting or­der send­ing The­u­nis Booy­sen de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma and debu­tant pacer An­rich Nortje (night­watch­man) ahead of him­self.

In­dia’s de­ci­sion to bring in Umesh Ya­dav for

SCORE­BOARD

this game paid off as he re­moved both open­ers. He first trapped Ai­den Markram plumb in front for a duck and then had last-Test centurion Dean El­gar bowled.

Though the left-handed bats­man played on while at­tempt­ing to leave the ball close to the off­s­tump, Umesh did enough by pos­ing con­sis­tent ques­tions in the cor­ri­dor of un­cer­tainty.

Stick­ing to the horses for cour­ses pol­icy, In­dia didn’t give the new ball to Mohd Shami de­spite him be­ing higher in the peck­ing or­der.

But Shami wasn’t to be de­nied his share of the spoils as he got Temba Bavuma off the first ball of his spell. The bowler was con­fi­dent about his caught be­hind ap­peal as the bats­man had feath­ered it and the DRS only con­firmed it. arc of the bat would have made Sachin Ten­dulkar proud.

And then came a four that pierced the tiny gap be­tween ex­tra-cover and mid-off. It was vin­tage Vi­rat.

There was the trade­mark be­rat­ing of him­self too in the first ses­sion of play. He was crit­i­cal of him­self for not punch­ing the ball enough through cover to fetch him more than a sin­gle.

Af­ter go­ing past his dou­ble hun­dred, he hit some real bound­aries. In lim­ited overs cricket, you get many bound­aries due to field re­stric­tions since TV de­mands it. Here in the post-tea ses­sion, he was hav­ing fun with the ri­vals de­spite a spread-out field.

Not sur­pris­ing then that Kohli was the dom­i­nant part­ner in the ini­tial phase of his long as­so­ci­a­tion with Ravin­dra Jadeja. The lat­ter scored only seven in the first half-cen­tury of the stand; and less than 25 when the part­ner­ship reached 100.

Kohli didn’t go for a triple hun­dred and de­clared about 80 min­utes be­fore sched­uled close to give his bowlers enough overs. He prob­a­bly took into ac­count pos­si­ble weather dis­rup­tions that have been fore­cast over the next cou­ple of days. He didn’t take the field in the early part of the South African in­nings. But then, he marched in.

He wants to con­trib­ute ex­tra. And doesn’t want to con­cede an ex­tra inch. Run-ag­gre­gate at an av­er­age of 55.10 in 138 in­nings ac­com­plished by Kohli to be­come the joint-fourth quick­est to reach 7,000 runs in Tests be­hind Wally

Ham­mond (131 in­nings), Virender Se­hwag (134) and Sachin Ten­dulkar (136). Two other bats­men had taken 138 in­nings for man­ag­ing 7,000 runs — Garry Sobers and Ku­mar San­gakkara.

Feels great it’s a nice lit­tle thing to get along in your ca­reer, to get most num­ber of dou­ble hun­dreds. I strug­gled to get big scores ini­tially but then as soon as I be­came cap­tain then you in­vari­ably just think about the team all the time, you can’t just think about your game. In that process you end up bat­ting more than you can imag­ine. It’s dif­fi­cult but if you keep think­ing (about the) team then you push your­selves in sit­u­a­tions you can’t oth­er­wise.”

—Vi­rat,

Hun­dreds in 50 Tests by Kohli as cap­tain, em­u­lat­ing Aus­tralia’s Ricky Ponting’s feat of 19 in 77 Tests. South Africa’s Graeme Smith had reg­is­tered 25 hun­dreds in 109 Tests as cap­tain — the only cap­tain ahead of Kohli. Runs put on by Kohli and Ravin­dra Jadeja — an In­dian part­ner­ship record for the fifth wicket against South Africa in Tests, bet­ter­ing the 220 be­tween Virender Se­hwag and Sachin Ten­dulkar at Bloem­fontein in Novem­ber 2001.

UN­STOP­PABLE: Vi­rat Kohli cel­e­brates his dou­ble cen­tury in Pune on Fri­day V Kohli B Lara D Brad­man M Clarke G Smith In­dia WI Aus Aus SA 5 4 4 4 85 38 86 193

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