To say South Africa were pleased to see the back of Virat Kohli in India’s second innings late on the fourth day of the second Test at Centurion on Tuesday would be a sizeable understatement.
With India needing 287 to win on a rapidly-deteriorating pitch, their captain was always going to be a key man, the go-to batsman for the century that would probably see them home.
And there was no doubting Kohli’s form nor hunger because he was coming off a magnificent 153 in the first innings, out of a total of 307.
If there was one man who could overcome the vagaries of the pitch and the South African attack, it was Kohli.
But Lungi Ngidi put the icing on top of an impressive debut at the end of his third over when he jagged a delivery back into Kohli, who had stepped across his stumps and was trapped lbw for just 5 as the ball perhaps kept a bit low as well.
“Getting Virat was a massive wicket and it’s huge for India as well, knowing that he won’t be batting for them tomorrow. What he did in the first innings was very special, but he’s human so he can also fail. We were all smiling because that’s one less very competitive, extremely talented guy to deal with tomorrow.
“Lungi has a very unique, special attitude and I’m very happy for him because he was as surprised as anyone to be playing in this Test. I’ve been following him quite closely as my Titans team-mate and he’s always able to do something special on the field. As his confidence grows at this level, he’ll just be able to express his skills even more,” Dean Elgar said after the Proteas had reduced the tourists to 35 for three at stumps.
That leaves South Africa with just seven wickets to get on the final day for another hard-fought victory that will seal a series win against the world’s number one ranked side. A pitch that is providing inconsistent bounce as well as turn will also aid them.
“Now we need to get seven more wickets on the last day and we don’t care how. The pitch is actually playing nicely into our hands now with our seamers and it was quite decent for spin too. If we can get the ball to reverse swing as soon as possible tomorrow then that will be a massive asset for us as well,” Elgar said.