Twitter Reactions: Virat Kohli’s masterly 79 headlines a gritty day of Test match cricket, India bowled out for 223

Virat Kohli showed tremendous discipline and kept the South African bowling attack at bay.

Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Virat Kohli resembled a monk out in the middle. The master showed tremendous discipline and kept the South African bowling attack at bay. And in a knock that lasted 201 deliveries, Kohli scored a masterly 79 as India were bowled out for 223 in the first innings.

After opting to bat first, India started their innings in poor fashion, as they lost both their openers, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal with just 33 runs on the board. Rahul was the first man to depart, and nicked Duanne Olivier to the wicketkeeper and walked back for just 12.

In the very next over, Agarwal walked back to the pavilion after edging Kagiso Rabada to Aiden Markram. India were reeling at 33/2 as the Proteas were all over the visitors.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli forge a superb 62-run stand

And, that is when the experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli joined hands. The two batters put on a 62-run stand for the third wicket and kept the South African bowlers at bay.

Pujara was the aggressor in the partnership. When Olivier bowled short, Pujara went for the pull, and when Lungi Ngidi pitched the cherry up, the right-hander flicked it with elan. This was a Pujara who took the attack to the opposition and was a Pujara willing to play his shots.

At the other end, Kohli resembled a man of restraint. The master displayed patience and did not commit himself to play at deliveries outside the off stump. And of course, there were some gorgeous shots that flowed from his willow.

In fact, Kohli opened his account with a ‘picture perfect’ cover drive off Jansen. And when Kagiso Rabada pitched one up, Kohli got onto the front foot and threaded the gap on the offside with precision, as the cherry raced away to the boundary.

However, just when it seemed as if Pujara and Kohli would inflict more misery on the opposition, Pujara departed, after he nicked Jansen to Kyle Verreynne behind the stumps.

Virat Kohli holds fort as wickets fall around him

Ajinkya Rahane then departed for just 9 after edging Rabada to the wicketkeeper. Rishabh Pant then forged a 51-run stand with his skipper as India were back on the road to recovery. But, the left-hander cut Jansen straight to Keegan Petersen at gully and was dismissed for 27.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. Ravi Ashwin departed for just 2, while Shardul Thakur was snaffled by Keshav Maharaj. Jasprit Bumrah then departed for a duck, as Kohli stood at the other end, still unconquered.

Virat Kohli falls 21 runs short of his 71st international ton

And then, the master fell, 21 runs short of his 71st international ton. Kohli edged a sixth stumpish delivery from Kagiso Rabada and walked back for 79, and fell short of his 71st international hundred. India were bowled out for 223 in the first innings.

South Africa ended the day with their scorecard reading 17/1. Jasprit Bumrah scalped the big wicket of Dean Elgar for just 3, as the Protean skipper edged the right arm pacer to Cheteshwar Pujara in the slip cordon.

Aiden Markram and nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj played out the remaining deliveries and prevented further damage.

Here are the reactions from Twitter