Centurion - If India emerge victorious in the
second Test against the Proteas at Centurion, it will be because of Virat
Regardless of what happens between now and the end
of the match, it was the Indian captain’s phenomenal 153 in the first innings
that kept his side alive.
Had Kohli fallen cheaply, India would have been
rolled for less than 200 and South Africa would be overwhelming favourites to
win in Pretoria and claim an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match
Instead, Kohli proved his class and justified his
status as one of the best batsmen on the planet - inside or outside of India -
as South Africa's bowlers had no answer to his 360-degree shot-making
Kohli was other-worldly at times, finding the gaps
even when the Proteas had their entire field on the boundary ropes.
He hit the ball so crisply, displaying both power
and placement at the same time.
In the end, Kohli fell for 153 of his side's 307
The match is well-balanced as a result, with South
Africa 118 runs ahead and with eight wickets in hand, but India will feel that
they can chase down anything as long as Kohli is at the wicket.
In this kind of touch, restricting Kohli’s scoring
becomes even more important than getting him out.
That much was confirmed by Proteas quick Morne
Morkel after the third day's play.
"We have a couple of options that we go to for
Virat, but it is quite tough when the wicket is so slow … he is a quality
batsman and has time to adjust," Morkel said.
"For us, on this sort of surface, it’s about
keeping him quiet and trying to bowl as many dot balls as possible.
"He came out with a lot of intent yesterday
(Sunday), looking to score and take the game forward. For us it was important
to hit our straps and stop him from scoring too quickly."
Devastating with bat in hand, Kohli is about much more
In this Test he has also made his presence felt
through passionate off-ball behaviour, and whether it be through ambitious
appealing or scolding his team-mates, Kohli makes a point of always being in
“Virat is very competitive," Morkel said of
Kohli's animated behaviour.
"I think it’s just his nature and it gets them
going and him going. We are well aware of that but we don’t take any notice of
What the Proteas will take notice of, though, is
how timid Kohli made their bowling attack look on Sunday and Monday.
His wicket is key to a South African victory. It
was always going to be.