Virat Kohli scored a patient half-century on Day 1 of the ongoing third Test match to help India post 223 runs in their first innings against South Africa in Cape Town. The Indian red-ball skipper faced 201 balls to register 79 runs, hitting 12 fours and a six. His knock proved to be crucial as none of the other Indian batters stayed in the pitch for long periods. Other than Kohli, only Cheteshwar Pujara played a noteworthy knock, scoring 43 runs off 77 balls. Kohli was eventually dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the 73rd over. Former South African pacer Morne Morkel praised Kohli’s innings and also had some valuable advice for his countrymen on facing the 33-year-old. Speaking on Star Sports, Morkel stated that bowlers “need to forget about the name” and “really focus” on the game plan when facing the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) cricketer.
“I think when you play against Virat, firstly you need to forget about the name. You know you can’t play the man. Soon as you start playing the man, the nerves will get the better of you. You will start overthinking the game. We know how strong he is, you know off his pads when you bowl too straight”, he said.
“In the subconscious mind, you say don’t bowl too straight. But you know you are bowling too straight. So, its important when you play against Virat, if you take out the quality of Virat and just really focus on the plan that you guys discussed before the game and South Africa did that brilliantly,” Morkel added.
Hailing Kohli’s innings, Morkel called it “patient” and labelled it as “a fantastic knock”.
“It was a patient innings for Virat, I thought. He played really, really well. It was a sort of surface where you have the earn the right to score. The ball was sort of moving around. At the start, bowlers bowled really well but there was going to be a period in the innings, where he can go, ‘okay, I am going to flip the switch now. I am going to put the pressure back onto South Africa’,” he said.
“Unfortunately he ran out of partners but I thought it was certainly a fantastic knock for him,” he further added.
In response to India’s first innings score of 223, South Africa were 17 for one at stumps on Tuesday.
Jasprit Bumrah took the crucial wicket of Dean Elgar, who will be regretting his dismissal. Aiden Markram (8) and Keshav Maharaj (6) will resume batting for South Africa on Day 2.
The hosts trail by 206 runs.
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