Sloppy Indian batting in the second innings once again handed the advantage back to South Africa on the third day, which was full of drama throughout the third day of the deciding test match at Cape Town.
India who started the third day leading by 70 runs were rocked early by Kagiso Rabada and young Marco Jansen in the first two overs to get rid of two senior batters in Cheteshwar Pujara and out of form Ajinkya Rahane. But what was to follow was two contrasting style of batting. Virat Kohli, who stood like a rock blocking ball after ball and leaving every thing outside the off stump, and on the other hand Rishabh Pant played fearless cricket to keep India in the game.
Kohli, who was on 14 not out off 37 balls at stumps on the second day, scored just 15 more runs off the next 107 balls and put on a 95-run fifth-wicket partnership with Pant. India looked good to bat South Africa out of the game, but that’s when Kohli lost his patience and went for a drive off a ball, which probably pitched on the seventh stump and gave South Africa a toehold after which India lost their last five wickets for just 42 runs with no batsman ready to put his head down and give Pant the support.
From 152 for 5 in the 49th over, India were bowled out for 198 in 68th over leaving South Africa a target of 212 with Pant scoring a magnificent 100 but sadly didn’t got any support after Kohli’s dismissal.
And then the drama unfolded when Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed South African captain Dean Elgar when he was on 22, however the DRS review showed the ball going over the stumps and umpire Erasmus overturned his decision. Things went haywire from that point as the whole Indian team could not believe that the decision was overturned.
Kohli showed his frustration by going toward the stump mic at the non-striker’s end to say: “Focus in your team while they shine the ball, not just the opposition. Trying to catch people all the time.”
A number of Indian players made public their displeasure by passing comments, which was not in the spirit of the game. Yes, the decision was overturned and it’s the final decision. Ashwin too did not mince his words, saying: “you should find better ways to win, Super Sport,” obliviously pointing towards the broadcasters. KL Rahul, vice-captain of the team, also said: “It’s the whole country against 11 guys.”
The score at that time was 60 and that decision rattled the whole team that they lost focus and bowled poorly, which yielded a partnership of 78 between Elgar and Keegan Petersen. India did manage to get Elgar out in the dying stage of the day, but with just 111 runs get, South Africa are favourites to win the game and take the series.
Paras Mhambrey, India’s bowling coach, later in a press conference said: “Every individual out here is trying his best, sometimes in a moment like this, people do say things. It’s a game. I think it’s fair we move on. Emotions do come in the play sometime.”
But I am afraid the emotions shown by Indian players was poor. A lot of youngsters watch this game and it sets a bad example for the upcoming cricketers when they see such things happening on the field. Yes, the decision might have gone against India, but would you have complained if it’s gone in your favour.
Kohli played two special innings in this Test match, which I believe was one of his best but I am afraid he lost it totally in the field showing his frustration against the DRS.