Indian captain Virat Kohli shined with the bat on Day 1 of the ongoing third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town.
After winning the toss, the visitors decided to bat first, with Kohli making a brilliant comeback, scoring a gritty half-century to ensure India got to a competitive total. Notably, the Delhi-lad was ruled out of the previous Test due to a back spasm.
Despite India kept losing wickets at regular intervals, the Indian Test skipper stayed tall against the quality bowling attack and on a challenging track in Cape Town. However, he missed out on reaching the triple-figure score after Kagiso Rabada dismissed the right-handed batter for 79 off 201 deliveries with the help of 12 fours and one six.
For the tourists, only Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara managed to breach the 40-run mark. Pujara played a crucial knock of 43 runs before Marco Jansen got rid of the Indian stalwart. India didn’t get enough support from other batters as they only managed to post 223 on the board.
In response, South Africa had only eight overs to deal with, but they lost a big fish Dean Elgar in the fifth over bowled by pacer Jasprit Bumrah. The hosts ended Day 1 at 17/1 with Aiden Markram (8 no) and Keshav Maharaj (6 no) at the crease.
Earlier, Indian openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal failed to give India a good start. In the 12th over, vice-captain Rahul became the first victim after edging off Duanne Olivier behind the stumps for 12 runs. In the very next over, Rabada dismissed Mayank for 15.
After the dismissal of both openers, Kohli and Pujara partnered to get the side out of hot waters. The duo went on to form a splendid partnership of 62 runs for the third wicket before the stand was broken by Jansen.
For the hosts, Rabada picked up four wickets for 73 runs in 22 overs, while Jansen bagged three wickets for 55 runs in 18 overs.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Sometimes 79 has a lot more quality than a hundred. This was a top-top knock from a top player. Today Kohli hasn’t missed a century by 21 runs but scored valuable and high-quality 79 runs. #SAvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 11, 2022
#ViraatKohli may have missed a ton but those youngsters who watched this knock should have learned a lot more about batting. A classy knock. #INDvSA #SAvIndia #CricketTwitter pic.twitter.com/dmva4DOutJ
— parthiv patel (@parthiv9) January 11, 2022
Gone for 79 and it was a fantastic and tenacious knock by Virat. Very well played. Rebuilt the innings for the team. 👏🏼 #SAvIND
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) January 11, 2022
Great innings this from Virat Kohli.
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) January 11, 2022
Virat Kohli didn't get a century but showed what class he belongs to. That was a top top knock, so much discipline..so much in control! #SAvIND
— Subhayan Chakraborty (@CricSubhayan) January 11, 2022
This 79 was worth a hundred. Well done skipper.
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) January 11, 2022
He doesn’t get the 100 but he has played superbly. Fantastic innings @imVkohli
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) January 11, 2022
Ever since scoring his maiden double century (his 12th career 100) in North Sound in June 2016, this is the first time the number of half-centuries (28) has exceeded centuries (27) for Virat Kohli in his Test career.#SAvIND
— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) January 11, 2022
79 off 201. Kohli picks the right day to bat like a Wall. 👏
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) January 11, 2022