Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that the Johannesburg surface has variable bounce after scoring a crucial fifty on Day 3 of the 2nd Test against South Africa. Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane struck half-centuries while Hanuma Vihari scored a vital 40* as India posted 266 in their second innings and set South Africa a target of 240 for victory. In response, the Proteas reached 118 for 2 by stumps.
Indian pacer Shardul Thakur may have claimed his best Test bowling figures of 7 for 61 on Day 2 of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa. However, Thakur feels that his best is yet to come. The 30-year-old was the wrecker-in-chief as India restricted the Proteas to 229. His heroics ensured that South Africa’s first-innings lead was restricted to 27. India ended Day 2 on 85 for 2, having gained a lead of 58 runs.
Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin feels that stand-in captain KL Rahul has figured out a formula to succeed in Test cricket. Rahul has been India’s most competent batter during the ongoing Test series in South Africa. The opener registered scores of 123 and 23 in India’s maiden Test win in Centurion. He also top-scored for the visitors with 50 in the first innings of the second Test at The Wanderers.
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has asserted that Test captain Virat Kohli has remained motivated and committed as ever despite all the controversy surrounding him. Ahead of the South Africa tour, Kohli had contradicted BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, claiming he had not been asked to stay on as T20I captain. Recently, though, Chairman of Selectors Chetan Sharma backed Ganguly and said that all the selectors had requested Kohli to reconsider his decision.
Centurion Test player of the match KL Rahul stated that his hundred in the opening Test of the series against South Africa was right up there with his best. Rahul scored 123 in the first innings as India won the Centurion Test by 113 runs on Day 5. The Indian opener was the only batter to reach three figures from either side. Batting first after winning the toss on Day 1, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (60) featured in a century opening stand to get India off to a great start. Mohammed Shami then claimed five wickets in South Africa’s first innings to put the visitors in command.
Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour has backed captain Virat Kohli to continue playing his drives outside off stump. However, he agreed that the skipper will need to pick the right balls to drive. Kohli got out playing loose wafts outside the off stump in both innings of the Centurion Test. The same pattern has been visible in the Indian captain’s batting for a few months now.
Mohammed Shami starred for India with 5 for 44 on Day 3 of the Centurion Test. India, resuming their innings on 272 for 3, folded up for 327 as Lungi Ngidi claimed six. However, Shami’s five-wicket haul played a pivotal role in bundling South Africa out for 197, securing a crucial 130-run lead for India. Shami’s fifth wicket in the innings (Kagiso Rabada) was also his 200th in Test cricket, making him the fifth Indian pace bowler to reach to landmark
Team India all-rounder Shardul Thakur has stated that he has a lot of confidence and self-belief, which is one of the reasons he has been able to deliver under tough circumstances in a short international career. Thakur is part of the playing XI for the 1st Test against South Africa in Centurion. He scored a crucial half-century during the Gabba Test against Australia at the start of the year. Thakur also contributed fifties in both innings of The Oval Test apart from picking up crucial wickets.
India opener Mayank Agarwal said that the team’s plan was to be very disciplined after the visitors won the toss and decided to bat first on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. India finished the day on 272 for 3. KL Rahul was unbeaten on 122 at stumps while Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 40. Agarwal himself contributed a defiant 60 while Virat Kohli was dismissed for 35.