Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
Johannesburg: Two of the most technically sound batsmen in the current India squad – Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, stitched another brilliant partnership on day 3 of the first Test match to give their side a huge lead of 320 runs.
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The fearsome Proteas pace attack looked helpless against these two batsmen, who had earlier added 89 runs for the third-wicket partnership in the first innings which probably gave India an edge in the first Test. Pujara was unlucky on that occasion as he was run-out.
But in the second innings, Pujara made sure he proved his worth as a world class batsman by slamming his maiden Test ton against South Africa. Kohli and Pujara added unbeaten 191-run partnership for the third wicket. Such was their dominance that these two accumulated 175 runs in the last session where the exhausted South African bowlers bowled 38 overs and still couldn’t get the much-needed breakthrough.
It was been a brilliant session and an even better day for the Indian team. Both Pujara and Kohli have batted exceptionally well, and it didn’t look like they were batting on a South African pitch.
Pujara has been a massive run-machine in the Indian domestic circuit and the selectors would be delighted with his performance in the first Test so far. On the other hand, Kohli once again played a flawless innings and it was good to see him slow down the pace of his innings while Pujara was scoring quickly.
The hosts on the other hand would be wondering what went wrong. The only chance which came their way was dropped by Imran Tahir off his own bowling. That was a big moment in the game as Pujara was batting on 51. From there on, he not only scored quickly, but went on to score his maiden century against the Proteas. India now lead by 320 runs with eight wickets in hand, a kind of performance that would make MS Dhoni extremely proud of his team.
Earlier in the day, Zaheer Khan bowled a brilliant spell in the morning session, where he picked three of the remaining four wickets, to bowl out the hosts for just 246 runs that gave India a first innings lead of 36 runs.
In reply, India lost the wicket of Dhawan early in the innings as the left-hander edged one to Jacques Kallis at slips. Murali Vijay (39) and Pujara added 70 runs for the second wicket before Vijay edged one to AB de Villiers. From there on, it was the Pujara-Kohli show as a result of which India have now strengthened their grip on the first Test.
At stumps, Pujara was batting on 135 runs while Kohli remained unbeaten on 77.