Senior duo Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara stabilize India’s innings after the openers failed to make an impact in the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. In the quest to register their first-ever Test series win on the Proteas soil, India won the toss and elected to bat first, but the overcast conditions hurt them with both openers back in hut early.
In-form KL Rahul failed to emulate his form from the previous two Tests in the series decider as he was dismissed by Duanne Olivier on just 12. The Proteas pacer hit the deck hard to bowl a well-directed short ball close to Rahul’s body, who failed to check his defence and edged it to the wicketkeeper. Soon after Rahul’s departure, in the next over his opening partner Mayank Agarwal (15) followed him back in the dressing room.
Kagiso Rabada got the better of Mayank who tried to push the ball on mid-on but only managed an edge to it as Aiden Markram didn’t make any mistake to grab an easy catch. With 33/2 on the scoreboard in just 12.2 overs, Pujara and Kohli joined hands to pull India out of the tricky situation.
At Lunch, India posted 75/2 with Pujara (26*) and Kohli (15*) in the middle.
Pujara, who is known for his defensive approach, batted with a lot of positive intent as he found boundaries on the loose delivery. The senior batter, who is under a lot of pressure to retain his place in the side, has hit four boundaries so far in this innings and looking very confident while batting with the Indian skipper.
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On the other side, Kohli batted with a cautious approach in the first session. In the past few matches, Kohli looked vulnerable on the wide ball outside off-stump as in the quest to hit a cover drive, he edged a lot of deliveries behind the stumps. However, that was not the case in the first session of the Cape Town Test, the Indian skipper showed a lot of discipline on leaving the balls which were landing outside the off-stump. He made little changes in his technique which have worked so far for him.
Earlier, India made a couple of changes in their playing XI from the last Test as fit-again Kohli came in place of Hanuma Vihari, while injured Mohammed Siraj made way for Umesh Yadav. South Africa, on the other hand, decided to go with the winning combination.