Centurion – The second Test at Centurion was starting to swing India’s way before AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar led the recovery for the Proteas in the second session on Day 3.
SCORECARD: Proteas v India, 2nd Test - Day 3
Almost all of that Indian dominance was down to Virat Kohli, who recorded the first century of this series in quite majestic fashion.
The Indian skipper is trying to become his country’s first Test captain to win a series in South Africa, and after his faultless 153, he has given his side more than a chance.
Without Kohli, India’s scoreboard would have read 154/9. They were eventually dismissed for 307, just 28 runs behind South Africa’s first innings total of 335.
At tea, the Proteas were 60/2, effectively 88 runs ahead with De Villiers (33*) and Dean Elgar (23*) leading the recovery after Jasprit Bumrah had claimed two early wickets for India.
The wicket remains a major talking point, and as time goes on it is becoming clear that Faf du Plessis did not get the strip he had asked for.
The pace and bounce has not been there, minimising the impact of South Africa’s quicks.
Spin is also playing a much bigger role than Du Plessis would have liked, and that was highlighted by Kohli tossing Ravichandran Ashwin the ball for the very first over of South Africa’s second innings.
Kohli cannot win this match alone, though, and he needs his bowlers to step up.
By tea, they had done just that with Jasprit Bumrah removing Aiden Markram (1) and Hashim Amla (1) with two beautiful deliveries to leave the Proteas rocking at 3/2.
Markram, who batted so well in the first innings for his 93, misjudged the length of a skiddy delivery from Bumrah to be trapped dead in front.
Amla’s dismissal was not dissimilar as he also went back when he probably should have gone forward, but in his defence the ball from Bumrah did keep low as it also trapped him plumb in front.
That brought De Villiers to the wicket.
Having missed out in the first innings and them having witnessed Kohli play one of the great Test knocks by a visiting player to South Africa, De Villiers would have been desperate to make a significant contribution.
He set about the recovery with Elgar, and was his usual positive self as run by run, the pair began to dig South Africa out of their hole.