Centurion - From the very first ball that he faced
at Centurion on Sunday, Indian captain Virat Kohli looked like
he was going to be the difference.
Often criticised for being a global superstar who
struggles to impact Test matches against quality opposition away from home,
Kohli played with purpose from ball one and immediately found the middle of the
He survived a South African review for an LBW off
the bowling of debutant Lungi Ngidi, but aside from that Kohli was all that
stood in the way of a South African procession on day two of the second Test at
Centurion on Sunday.
Kohli is desperate to become the first Indian
captain in history to win a Test series in South Africa, and while that looks a
long way away at this stage, the dream is still alive because of him.
India are 183/5 going into day three, still 152
runs behind the Proteas, but Kohli's undefeated 130-ball innings of 85* is why
South Africans know that this Test match is still wide open.
Kohli has able support at his disposal in the form
of first Test hero Hardik Pandya (11*) and Ravichandran Ashwin, who is yet to
bat, and if the controversial captain stays at the crease for anything longer
than the opening session on Monday South Africa will see the results on the
On a wicket that is doing little to nothing for the
fast bowlers, Kohli looks at home.
Seamer Ishant Sharma acknowledged after Sunday's
play that Kohli was the key for India as they look to put pressure on the South
Africans, while Ngidi opened up on what had gone through his mind when he
thought he had India's 'big fish' trapped leg-before.
“In my first spell I had hit the pad a few
times," Ngidi said.
"I thought that was a vulnerable area for him
and he kept shifting across and walking into my bowling line, so I thought I’d
shoot one in at the stumps and see what happens.
"I thought I had him. I thought he had hit the
ground so I was very confident and then when I saw that edge I kind of dropped
a bit, but I knew I had to get back on the ball."
An inside edge had saved Kohli on that occasion,
but he was faultless either side of that moment.
The Proteas have made a point of underplaying
Kohli's potential impact on this series up until now, but if they get him early
on Monday, their celebrations will show just how much they value his wicket.