Kohli, Pujara steady ship after India lose openers cheaply
India fought their way to 75 for two in overcast conditions after losing their openers early on day one of the third Test against South Africa here on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli, back to lead the side after missing the second Test, opted to bat on a pitch with decent amount of grass and clouds hovering over the spectacular Newlands ground.
The India skipper (15 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (26 batting) were out in the middle when lunch was taken.
The South African pace combo of Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier made good use of the conditions in the first hour by removing Mayank Agarwal (15 off 35) and K L Rahul (12 off 35) respectively.
Rabada, playing his 50th Test, targeted the off stump channel consistently while Olivier was able to bring the ball back in sharply on a pitch with good bounce and carry.
The in-form Rahul, who has been brilliant at leaving the ball of late, poked at a rising delivery on the off stump and nicked it to the wicketkeeper.
Agarwal's tendency to play the ball with hard hands led to his downfall as Rabada induced a thick edge off his bat with Aiden Markram doing the rest at second slip. Agarwal was dropped in the slips on 0 off Rabada in the third over of the innings.
With India in a spot of bother 33 for two, Kohli and Pujara got together and steadied the ship.
Pujara, once again, showed intent and was quick to put away the loose balls. His innings comprised four boundaries including a pull shot off Olivier.
Kohli took 15 balls to get off the mark but it was worth the wait as he leaned into a beautiful cover drive off left-arm pacer Marco Jansen.
Both looked in control after getting in, which augurs well for the visitors in the second session.