Virat Kohli-led India will have to get rid of AB de Villiers, unbeaten on 50 at stumps on Day 3, as early as possible on Tuesday if they are to keep their chances in the second Test alive.
The second Test between South Africa and India at Centurion is very nicely poised at the moment, with the third day of the ongoing match witnessing another interesting tussle between the two sides.
AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar were unbeaten on 50 and 36 respectively, adding an unbroken partnership worth 87 that helped rescue the hosts from the dire straits after a devastating burst by Jasprit Bumrah. The former had barely brought up his 42nd Test half-century when the heavens opened up above the SuperSport Park.
Not long after the resumption of play were the players walking back to their respective dressing rooms, this time due to bad light, with the umpires ultimately calling off play after a few inspections.
Earlier, India skipper Virat Kohli continued his resistance against the fiery Proteas attack, resuming from his overnight score of 85, and smacking a few boundaries to bring up his 21st Test hundred — one that perhaps elicited the most animated celebrations from the Delhi lad in a long time. Kohli was responsible for holding the Indian innings together even when most of the batsmen in the Indian order threw their wicket away, including and especially Hardik Pandya.
Kohli's gritty innings, which will surely rank among the finest of his career, helped minimise India's first innings deficit, with the visitors getting bowled out for 307 — a respectable finish when compared to the manner in which the top-order had crumbled.
With de Villiers and Elgar negating the advantage that Bumrah had seized for the visitors early in South Africa's second innings, the stage is set for them to push the hosts towards a score in excess of 300, which on a fifth day's track should very well be out of the visitors' reach. De Villiers, who got off the mark with a boundary off the very first delivery that he faced in this innings, is the main main to watch out for as far as the Indians are concerned, and getting rid of him as early as possible on the fourth day will be of utmost importance.
However, getting rid of de Villiers and the rest of the top-order batsman alone won't put Kohli and company in a position of safety. It has been observed that the Indians tend to go a bit lax once getting rid of some of the big names in the South African batting line-up, and the loss of intensity has allowed some of the lower-order batsmen to get away with a few runs — which could later prove to be the difference between the victor and the vanquished.
If the tourists are to learn anything from what has transpired so far in the series, it is that they have to go full guns blazing all along.
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