South Africa were buried under a mammoth target as Team India rode on a brilliant double ton from skipper Virat Kohli to end Day 2 on the front foot at Pune. The skipper became the first Indian to score seven double hundreds, as his innings along with Ravindra Jadeja’s crucial 91 helped India post a total of more than 600. The hosts further got closer to a victory as they scalped three South African wickets before stumps, to leave the Proteas reeling.
Umesh Yadav, who made his way into the eleven in place of Hanuma Vihari, knocked over Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar in successive overs, with the former falling to a pacy inswinger and the later playing on a delivery he should have let go. Mohammad Shami got the third scalp as he had Temba Bavuma caught behind. At 36 for 3, South Africa need another 366 runs to avoid a follow-on – a steep task indeed.
The first half of the day, however, belonged to Virat Kohli, who started his day at 63. There were a few nervy moments upfront, as the duo of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander got the batter to induce three outside edges, only to see the delivery fall short of the slip cordon. India managed just 41 runs in the first hour of play, but it was a Kohli show thereafter, as the skipper scored runs at a rapid pace. He attacked Anrich Nortje, who bowled short and wide often, driving him down to the boundary. At the other end, Ajinkya Rahane too completed his fifty off 141 balls, employing a defensive approach, especially against Keshav Maharaj.
Kohli took 23 balls to move from 90 to 100, but his first Test ton in ten innings, and first this year, was a achieved with a pristine shot – a straight drive off Philander. The skipper then upped the run scoring rate in the second session, despite Rahane falling for 59 off the bowling of Maharaj – also his 100th Test wicket. Ravindra Jadeja then walked out to bat, and went 44 balls without a boundary, but all hell broke loose in the post-tea session, as the duo of Kohli and Jadeja piled on 100 runs in just 11.2 overs to help India over the 550-run mark.
Kohli got to his double century, and survived a scare at 208, after Senuram Muthusamy had him dismissed off a no ball. He used that reprieve to go past his highest Test score of 243, getting his maiden 250 in cricket. Jadeja too was nearing his hundred, but was dismissed for 91, post which India declared, with a healthy total on the board.
Brief scores: India 601/5 decl. (Virat Kohli 254*, Mayank Agarwal 108; Kagiso Rabada 3-93) lead South Africa 36/3 (Umesh Yadav 2-16) by 565 runs.
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