Sunil Gavaskar has heaped praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who ended the day unbeaten at 85, for his gritty show in Centurion while other batsmen were just passengers. The former Indian batsman was also delighted in the manner with which R Ashwin used his stock balls as his main weapon.
Though India’s batting saw little improvement in the second Test from the previous one as they lost five quick wickets for just 183 runs in 61 overs, they still have Kohli standing like a rock. The skipper came in at a time where India
Kohli then forged a 79-run partnership with Murali Vijay taking off the early pressure from the side before India succumbed to yet another string of dismissals as Vijay, Rohit Sharma, and Parthiv Patel returned to pavilion within 57 runs. India trail South Africa by 152 runs with Kohli and Hardik Pandya the only proper batsman left in the team. Kohli remains unbeaten at 85 as he faced 130 balls and hit eight boundaries, with Pandya batting on 11 runs.
“Kohli's determination to ensure India come back in the series was seen by the manner in which he began his innings. There was none of the early tentativeness as at Newlands and the way he moved into position for attacking and defensive shots were a treat to watch,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for TOI.
“Already, there are rumblings within the Proteas about the kind of pitch that has been provided for this Test. However, this surface is tailor-made for India. Despite the loss of five wickets, one hopes the skipper along with Pandya can help India take control of the game," Gavaskar mentioned.
However, the main man who prevented South Africa from amassing a gigantic target after a rock solid start on Day 1 was Ravichandran Ashwin. The spinner was almost unplayable in the first two days as he scalped four wickets - Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock and Morne Morkel. He could have had
“Ashwin was terrific and once he focuses on his stock ball and brings the variety deliveries as a surprise weapon, he is a handful. Ishant Sharma gave him good support,” wrote Gavaskar.