Kohli makes 79 but India 223 all out in series decider
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Virat Kohli made 79 on his return from a back injury in the only real resistance Tuesday as India was bowled out for 223 after choosing to bat first in the series-deciding final test against South Africa.
The India captain was the second-to-last wicket to fall for India on the opening day, when South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada took four wickets — including Kohli’s — and Marco Jansen three.
Their performance gave the Proteas the slight advantage in the series finale at Newlands in Cape Town, although the fast bowlers on both sides have been the dominant force in all three matches so far. So, South Africa’s batsmen still had a challenge in front of them before the home team could really claim control of the test.
To underscore that, Jasprit Bumrah struck before stumps for India to remove South Africa captain Dean Elgar, who thwarted India in the last test, for three. South Africa was 17-1 at the close and 206 runs behind.
The series is level at 1-1 after India won the first test in Centurion and South Africa hit back in Johannesburg, when Kohli was ruled out with an upper back spasm just before the game started.
India is seeking a first test series victory in South Africa and now needs to win in Cape Town for that slice of history, which the India team has been chasing since 1992 and before apartheid officially ended.
Kohli was into the action after India lost both openers in the space of six balls to be 33-2 at Newlands.
Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara (43) put on 62 and Kohli had another half-century partnership with Rishabh Pant (27).
Kohli marked his 99th test with his 28th half-century, but it was grinding rather than flashing. His 50 came up off 158 balls and he’d faced 273 deliveries by the time he was out to an edge to wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne off Rabada.
India lost its last six wickets for 56 runs, starting when the Kohli-Pant stand was broken.
Bumrah did give India a late boost with Elgar’s wicket, caught by Pujara at first slip. In the last test, Elgar made 96 not out to see South Africa to a series-leveling victory.
That meant the stage was set for a decider at Cape Town’s famed ground in the shadow of Table Mountain, but no fans will be there to witness it. The entire series has been played without spectators because of the coronavirus.
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