South Africa vs India 3rd Test 1st Day Newlands Cape Town: On the first day of the Cape Town Test, the Indian team was bundled out for 223 runs in the first innings. Captain Virat Kohli took over the innings after the openers were dismissed early. He played a useful innings of 79 runs. In response, South Africa scored 17 runs in the first innings, losing one wicket till the end of the first day’s play. In the morning session, India had lost both their openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul early. Then Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara (43 runs) together took over the team by sharing a 62-run partnership for the third wicket.
Kohli faced the fast bowlers, especially Kagiso Rabada, with the brilliance of the fast bowlers. But the same bowler ended his half-century innings of 12 fours and a six in 201 balls. Pujara hit seven fours in his 77-ball innings. Kohli, who did not play in the second Test due to a back injury, was on his way to a century but South Africa’s fast bowling leader Rabada did not let his hopes come true.
Rabada, playing his 50th Test, took 4 for 73 while Marco Jensen took 3 for 55. Till the stumps, South African opener Aidan Markram was playing for eight runs and night watchman Keshav Maharaj was scoring six runs. Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah gave the first success to the Indian team by taking the wicket of South African captain and opener Dean Elgar (03). In the second session, the Indian team added 66 runs for the loss of the wickets of Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (nine runs in 12 balls), as the team’s score was 141 for four at tea time. South Africa’s fast bowlers, especially Rabada, troubled the batsmen with their balls under floodlights in a cloudy sky at Newlands.
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Kohli opened the account with a brilliant cover drive in the morning, he made another beautiful cover drive on Jenson in the afternoon session. Apart from this, he also hit a six off Rabada’s ball. Rabada wreaked havoc in his seven-over spell but Kohli faced them with the same restraint and discipline. Pujara again showed the same belligerent spirit but he fell victim to Jenson’s beautiful ball. Coming in from round the wicket, taking an angle, the ball went into the hands of the wicketkeeper taking the outer edge of Pujara’s bat.
Rahane has batted impressively during the series but has not been able to convert good starts into big scores and that too did not last long. Good length ball from Rabada ended his innings. Kohli had put on a half-century partnership with Rishabh Pant (27) for the fifth wicket that Jensen dismissed the Indian wicket-keeper batsman to end the 51-run partnership. After this fifth blow, India quickly lost the wickets of Ravichandran Ashwin (02), Shardul Thakur (12) and Jasprit Bumrah (nil) and Kohli was the ninth player to be dismissed. The Indian captain was trying to play Rabada’s good length ball into deep point, but the ball took the edge of his bat and went straight into the hands of wicketkeeper Kyle Verne. The Indian team lost six wickets in the final session and added 82 runs.
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Earlier, Kohli won the toss and elected to bat on the grassy pitch of Newlands in cloudy skies. The pair of Rabada and Duane Oliver made good use of the conditions in the first hour to dismiss Agarwal (15 off 35 balls) and Rahul (12 off 35 balls) respectively. Rabada continued to hit the off-stump while Oliver bowled fast on a pitch of good bounce.
Rahul, who has been in form, had been doing well in the matter of dropping the ball for some time but he touched the ball on the ball going over the off-stump and the ball ended up in the hands of the wicketkeeper while kissing the edge of his bat. Rabada encouraged Agarwal to play ahead and the ball touched the edge of his bat and went into the hands of Aidan Markram standing at second slip. When Agarwal did not even open the account, he got life in the third over of the innings.
India’s score was 33 runs for two wickets. Then Kohli and Pujara came to the crease and both handled the innings. Pujara again showed good spirit and was very active in releasing loose balls. Kohli took 15 balls to open the account but the wait paid off and then he hit a beautiful cover drive on left-arm pacer Jenson.