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3rd Test, Day 1: Kohli, Pant steer India to 141/4 at Tea against South Africa

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Cape Town, Jan 11 (IANS) Captain Virat Kohli (40 not out) and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (12 not out) steered India to 141 for four at Tea on Day 1 of the third and final Test of the three-match series, here on Tuesday.

South Africa dominated the second session by getting rid of India’s experienced campaigners Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (9) while the visitors added 66 more runs after the lunch.

Resuming the second session’s play at 75/2, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli looked to extend their vital partnership and complete the rebuilding job for the visitors.

Pujara continued his approach to looking for runs and not just block after lunch and hit a few more boundaries to move into his 40s. However, an eventful over by Jansen dismissed him and gave South Africa, the much-needed breakthrough to break the gritty 3rd wicket stand.

Jansen started the over with a freebie on the pads for Pujara to pick up the boundary but the pacer bounced back quickly and almost trapped the batsman leg before wicket in the next ball with a delivery that came back in. The experienced batter survived that but the next ball came in with the angle and straightened to take the outside edge and Pujara’s knock came to an end.

Ajinkya Rahane, who came to bat next, got off the mark with a cheeky boundary off Jansen. On the other hand, Kohli looked in solid touch and helped India cross the 100-run mark in the 39th over by picking a double off Rabada.

The Indian skipper also hit the first maximum of the ongoing third Test and his signature cover drive in different overs bowled by Rabada and Jansen respectively to keep the scoreboard ticking.

It was Rabada, who brought the Proteas team back in the game by dismissing Rahane (9). The pacer bowled a good length and Rahane edged behind, with the umpire declaring him out. However, the batter wasn’t sure and thought that the ball might have hit the pad on the way to the keeper but the replays confirm that he had indeed edged it.

Rishabh Pant then joined his skipper out in the middle and started his innings on a confident note by hitting two boundaries, both against Kagiso Rabada.

On the other hand, a determined Kohli also showed tremendous application, something that India have missed in recent times. He did not refrain from playing the dives on the off-side but he has picked the right balls to play them.

The pair of Pant and Kohli mixed caution with aggression and guided India safely through to the Tea break battling hard for a little over 12 overs.

Brief scores: India 141/4 (Cheteshwar Pujara 43, Virat Kohli 40 not out; Kagiso Rabada 2-52) vs South Africa

–IANS

avn/bsk

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