Centurion: A defiant Virat Kohli struck his 21st century and guided India to 287 for eight at lunch on the third day of the second cricket Test against South Africa here. At the break, Kohli was batting on 141 runs (193 balls, 14 fours) while Ishant Sharma was yet to open his account.
India trailed by another 48 runs. Starting from overnight 183/5, Kohli and Hardik Pandya (15) took their overnight sixth wicket partnership to 45 runs.
In doing so, they helped India cross 200 in the 65th over. Kohli then reached his hundred off 146 balls, inclusive of 10 fours. He became the first overseas captain to score a Test hundred at Centurion. The previous highest for a visiting captain at this ground was 90 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2010.
Additionally, he became only the second Indian skipper to score a Test hundred on South African soil, after Sachin Tendulkar at Cape Town in 1997. This was Kohli’s second Test hundred in South Africa, the second-most after Tendulkar who has 5 Test centuries here.
However, Kohli’s joy was cut short as another suicidal moment of running between the wickets gifted South Africa a breakthrough, as Pandya was run-out for not dragging his bat in. He had set off for a run in the 68th over, only for Kohli to send him back but Vernon Philander’s throw from mid-on beat him by inches as Pandya didn’t drag his bat or even grounded his foot.
Kagiso Rabada (1-73) then bowled a testing spell to R. Ashwin (38, 54 balls, 7 fours), but the batsman managed to survive a barrage of short balls, despite being hit on his left hand. He countered by taking three boundaries off Rabada in his next over. The duo continued to score at a good pace and brought up their 50-stand off 62 balls.
South Africa took the second new ball in the 82nd over, and Philander (1-39) immediately struck. Ashwin was caught at second slip off his third delivery. He put on vital 71 runs with Kohli for the 7th wicket. In the very next over, Morne Morkel (2-52) had Mohammed Shami (1) caught at first slip as Kohli began to run out of partners.
On day one, South Africa won the toss and chose to bat with the pitch surprising everyone with its flat nature. Aiden Markram scored 94 and Hashim Amla made 82. On day two, India’s reply was accentuated by Murali Vijay’s 46 as he put on 79 runs with Kohli.
Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for a golden duck and Rohit Sharma only made 10 runs. South Africa won the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs and lead the three-Test series 1-0.