IND vs SA | Vizag Day 4 Talking Points: Rabada-Muthusamy derailing India’s charge and Kohli’s delayed declaration

IND vs SA | Vizag Day 4 Talking Points: Rabada-Muthusamy derailing India’s charge and Kohli’s delayed declaration

no photo



India are in the driver’s seat to wrap up the proceedings in Vizag as after setting a target of 395, Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Dean Elgar for 2. However, the biggest talking point of the day has to be the way Kohli delayed the declaration to an extent it seemed illogical from the outer viewpoint.

The true worth of Rabada-Muthusamy last-wicket standing 

South Africa started the fourth day 117 behind with two wickets in hand and even though they had fared much better than expected on Day 3, India had to make amends and finish unfinished business in a go. Instead, the hosts gave away 46 runs in a little under an hour which reduced India’s lead to 77. From a tactical point of view, it messed up with India’s plans as they had to score each run the bowlers had conceded in the first session today and that meant India somehow had to resort to a defensive or rather anxious strategy with their batting in the first session.

Kagiso Rabada batted fluently after Keshav Maharaj skied one, but it was Senuran Muthusamy who had to be the star of the day. The debutant from Durban had negotiated the turn by batting close to the body, and when Ravichandran Ashwin tried to spin the ball away from him, he defended close to the body, ensuring there was no more success in the first half. Of course, While the batters around him folded, Muthusamy stood firm and put up a resilient fight, putting South Africa in a position where they can now genuinely hope to draw the game in a comfortable manner.

This also meant that India couldn’t afford to score slowly as they had to get to a total where they would insert the visitors to bat again. Cheteshwar Pujara’s slow batting before drinks in the second session affected India’s chances so bad that a frustrated Rohit Sharma had to mutter expletives at the former to run those available singles. Although Pujara shifted gears after the drinks break to give Rohit a run for his money, things eventually had gotten to a point where everyone had to accelerate to keep India ahead in the game.

The genius of Rohit Sharma grows further

Never ever was there any doubt regarding Rohit Sharma’s batting at home, and if anything, it was about if he could stamp the same authority at the opening position. This Test, however, put every innuendo to rest as Rohit emerged as a breath of fresh air, just like how a guy from Delhi made everyone hooked to the seat some 19 years ago. Rohit’s uncluttered mind came to the fore as he smashed the spinner on his way to having the record of highest sixes in a game in all three formats of the game.

Is this really a transformation one should be excited about? After all, Rohit has now scored over 300 runs on his opening debut and this, by no means, was an easy achievement. But more than the runs, it was the manner in which they came that had to be the talking point. A batsman, who has a wide range of shots in both sides of the wicket, played with no rage, but in a pure manner on a Day 4 wicket which had enough cracks on it for a spinner to explode. 

However, one would hope this doesn’t prove to be a false dawn and doesn’t add to the home-track bully reputation, which, if he doesn’t perform in New Zealand, would come back to haunt him. Indian cricket has already suffered a lot by being carried with the century love and had that not happened, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay would have played far lesser games than they eventually did. Rohit’s innings stokes optimism but underlying, it adds a fear too. Quashing it would be his first priority as soon as he bids goodbye to the home conditions.

Kohli’s ultra-defensive mentality 

Should India have declared their second innings an hour earlier than they eventually did? Or at least, should have they inserted South Africa to bat at 4.30 instead of doing it at 4.45? All things considered, this seems like an absurd theory when India went on and on to finish at a score of 323/4, with an effective lead of 394. Even though South Africa would have thought to go after the total, it doesn’t really make cricket sense that they could achieve it. 

India are still heavy favourites to win this game, as with the prospect of bowling on a Day 5 track with cracks wide open, Ashwin would be licking his lips for the night to get over and dismiss a flurry of batsmen in the process. But, inserting the Saffers for a dig in today would have made things even further complicated for the Africans to recover from on Day 5.

As if Kohli needed a true blue moment to develop an understanding of the fact, Ravindra Jadeja trapped Dean Elgar in front with a solid spinning delivery just a couple of deliveries after Ravichandran Ashwin put the duo of Aiden Markram and Elgar in a spot of bother. Ashwin’s deliveries were staying low and threatened the Proteas charge. Just imagine, had Virat Kohli done that a bit earlier, it would have actually kept India in a commanding position.

Get updates! Follow us on

Open all