Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier and Marco Jansen put hosts in a strong position as India's middle order crumbled in the post lunch session of the third cricket test match with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane losing their wickets. Captain Virat Kohli is on the crease with a gritty knock of 40.
With India resuming the post lunch session at 75 for 2, the South African pacers bowled tightly and did not allow Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to bat freely. The duo managed to put up a 50-run partnership to deny Proteas any early breakthrough. Pujara was more aggressive of the two, capitalizing on the opportunities coming his way.
The gritty partnership was finally broken as left arm pacer Marco Jansen dismissed Pujara caught behind by wicket-keeper Verreynne for 43 to leave India in a spot of bother at 95 for 3.
Ajinkya Rahane came in to bat after Pujara's dismissal and Jansen managed to find his outside edge too but the ball went in the third slip region where there was no one standing. India reached the triple figure mark as the intriguing contest between the bat and ball continued. Rabada went past Virat Kohli's bat missing the edge by a whisker and the Indian skipper replied back with a six of the very next ball.
Rahane's lean patch continued as he was dismissed for 9 by Rabada who bagged his second wicket and Verreynne took his third catch of the innings. The Mumbai lad did take a review but it did not go his way to leave India tottering at 116/4.
Wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant joined Virat Kohli and got off the mark with a boundary towards gully with the ball going over the fielder's head. Virat Kohli hung in and kept the fight on to take his side to 141/4 at Tea. India scored 66 runs in the session and lost two wickets.
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli won the toss and despite a bit of overcast conditions chose to bat first. Opener Mayank Agarwal got a life on his individual score of zero as South African pacer Kagiso Rabada got the outside edge but Keegan Petersen dropped a tough chance at the third slip. The duo then batted steadily to put on 31 runs for the opening wicket.
Protea bowlers kept on persisting as Duanne Olivier bowled three maidens. The pressure finally yielded results as Rahul edged the ball to wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne for 12 off pacer Olivier. In the next over, Mayank Agarwal was dismissed by Rabada caught in the second slip by Aiden Markram for 15. Agarwal's wicket meant Kohli's arrival and Rabada welcomed him with a bouncer of the very first ball.
The Indian captain batted patiently along with Cheteshwar Pujara negotiating three maiden overs. Kohli too opened his account with a cover drive after facing 15 dot balls. Pujara and Kohli took India's total beyond the 50-run mark. The duo ensured that there was no further damage as the visitors scored 75 for 2 at lunch on day-1.
Team India made two changes in the playing eleven as Virat Kohli replaced Hanuma Vihari while Umesh Yadav came in for injured Mohammed Siraj.
Brief Scores: India 141/4 (Cheteshwar Pujara 43, Virat Kohli 40*, Rishabh Pant 12*; Kagiso Rabada 2/52, Duanne Olivier 1/26) vs South Africa (ANI)