SuperSport Park conditions '100%' like bowling in India - Morkel

Rohit Sharma

Timing is the essence for Kohli. Kohli had made no excuses after twin failures in Cape Town, and he was at his fluent best on a pitch where run-scoring was seldom easy. Kohli's 153 takes the 65th position overall. His was an innings of character and resilience.

Despite a magnificent 153 from India captain Virat Kohli, South Africa batsman AB de Villiers stretched his side's lead to 118 before bad light ended play early on the third day in Centurion.

Bumrah (2-30) set the alarm bells ringing for South Africa when he trapped Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla leg before, but De Villiers showed positive intent and Elgar grafted for his runs on a tricky surface, indifferent bounce making life hard for the batsmen.

De Villiers and Dean Elgar rescued South Africa with an unbeaten 65-run stand before the rain came.

But Elgar survived to share an unbroken 57-run partnership with AB de Villiers, who batted confidently to be on 33 not out at tea.

And a few developing cracks from one end could enable the seamers send down effective cutters too.

India would have to inject regular breakthroughs before the game slips away on Tuesday.

Hashim Amla was trudging back to the pavilion four overs later as he suffered the same fate as Markram.

The lanky paceman bowled with hostility, straightening the odd delivery, extracting lift and striking the batsmen on the knuckles. Here, with defeat not an option if India are to stay alive in the series, he played one of his finest innings, with only Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin offering significant support. If the shiny side was away from the batsman - which would result in the ball swinging away from Pandya - Kohli would hold his bat in the left hand while standing at the non-striker's end.

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And Ashwin, bowling with the new ball, did cause some anxious moments to Elgar and was unlucky not to find the edge.

The hosts are leading by 96 runs.

Vijay repeatedly tried to cut the ball but was either beaten or found the fielder at backward point.

"Individuals must take responsibility, but there's a massive thing in the team to build partnerships".

India are 183/5 going into day three, still 152 runs behind the Proteas, but Kohli's undefeated 130-ball innings of 85* is why South Africans know that this Test match is still wide open.

Much was expected of Hardik Pandya but a casual piece of running to regain his crease saw him run out in comical circumstances by Vernon Philander for 15, India were 209 for 6. He countered by taking three boundaries off Rabada in his next over.

Kohli's only real help on the third day came from Ravichandran Ashwin, who hit seven fours in his 38 and stuck around with Kohli for almost 15 overs in a partnership of 71 for the seventh wicket.

The South African paceman, taller and stronger, were able to get more bounce out of the surface. Due to the bounce that Morkel extracted, even a good length ball hit the bat high. He had words with the umpires, ran to the match referee's room, and did all he could to get his players back out there.

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