India moved into a position of strength by the time Lunch was called on the third day of the third Test match in Newlands, Capetown. With the series hanging in balance, wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant came to the fore and helped his skipper Virat Kohli maintain sanity after they were reduced to 58/4 within 15 minutes of the start of play. Meanwhile, Kohli played the waiting game; he complimented his 79 in the first innings with a 127-ball-28 in the second. The recent one came in far more challenging condition.
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It was Kohli’s trial by fire as Proteas bowling unit peppered him with deliveries on the fourth stump, but Kohli being Kohli, kept his zen state and kept on leaving them. The ploy had worked wonders in the first Test in Centurion where Kohli lost his calm and edged it straight to the slip after looking solid for 35 runs. A special mention also for young Rishabh Pant who came under attack for his ‘nothing’ shot in the second Test in Jo’Burg. Unlike his seniors, Pant showed grit and hung in only to launch his attack after the first hour of play. Both he and his skipper added 72 runs for the fifth wicket which made sure that India’s lead over South Africa was above 140. Interestingly, Pant outscored his captain by a mile. While Kohli scored 28 in 127, Pant was 51 off 60! As Sunil Gavaskar mentioned in the pitch report, anything above 200 can be a formidable score with the wicket deteriorating by the minute.
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Earlier Kohli and his men were off to a worst possible stary as they resumed from their overnight score of 57/2 and lost Pujara in the very first over. Later, Ajinkya Rahane too fall prey to a snorter of a ball from Kagiso Rabada as India were reduced to 58/4.
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