JOHANNESBURG, Jan 24: India�s batting woes in South Africa continued as the visitors folded up for 187 on day one of the third Test despite fighting half-centuries from captain Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Kohli (54 off 106) raised a few eyebrows by opting to bat on a seaming track after going into the final game with an all-pace attack.
The captain�s bold decision backfired though he was the stand out batsman yet again, negotiating a lethal pace attack with sublime skills.
Pujara (50 off 106) provided solid support to Kohli during their 84-run stand, the only significant partnership of the innings that lasted 77 overs.
South Africa had the unpleasant task of playing six overs before close of play. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, brought back into the side, proved his worth by having opener Aiden Markram caught behind with South Africa ending the day at six for one.
Post tea, India lost six for 73 as after Pujara reached his 17th Test half-century off 173 balls.
Pujara added 31 runs with Parthiv Patel (2) for the fifth wicket. They looked to resurrect the Indian innings, before Pujara�s long vigil came to an end as he edged behind off Andile Phehlukwayo (2-25).
India lost three wickets for no addition to the score in the space of 12 balls at that juncture. Five balls after Pujara�s dismissal, Patel was caught behind off Morne Morkel (2-47).
Phehlukwayo then accounted for Hardik Pandya (0), who didn�t look convincing at all during his five-ball stay at the crease. The all-rounder was out caught pulling, with Quinton de Kock taking a fine catch running behind. It was another loose shot from Pandya considering the match situation. Bhuvneshwar (30 runs, 49 balls, 4 fours) then played a brilliant hand to rescue India from 144 for seven.
First, he put on 19 runs with Mohammed Shami (8). Vernon Philander (2-31) and Kagiso Rabada (3-39) accounted for Shami and Ishant Sharma (0) thereafter as India were dangling dangerously at 166 for nine.
In fine rear-guard manner then, Bhuvneshwar added 21 vital runs with Jasprit Bumrah (0 not out) as he gave India something to bowl at. He was the last man out, caught pulling off Rabada. � PTI
India 1st innings
Murali c de Kock b Rabada 8
Rahul c de Kock b Philander 0
Pujara c de Kock b Phehlukwayo 50
Kohli c de Villiers b Ngidi 54
Rahane lbw b Morkel 9
Patel c de Kock b Morkel 2
Pandya c de Kock b Phehlukwayo 0
Kumar c Phehlukwayo b Rabada 30
Shami c Rabada b Philander 8
Ishant c du Plessis b Rabada 0
Bumrah not out 0
Extras: (B-11, LB-7, NB-2, W-6) 26
Total: (All out in 76.4 overs) 187
Fall of wickets: 7-1, 13-2, 3-97, 4-113, 5-144, 6-144, 7-144, 8-163, 9-166, 10-187.
Bowling: Morne Morkel 17-5-47-2, Vernon Philander 19-10- 31-2, Kagiso Rabada 18.4-6-39-3, Lungi Ngidi 15-7-27-1, Andile Phehlukwayo 7-1-25-2.
South Africa 1st innings
Elger batting 4
Markram c Patel b Kumar 2
Rabada batting 0
Total: (For 1 wicket in 6 overs) 6
Fall of wicket: 1-3.
Bowling: Kumar 3-2-3-1, Bumrah 3-2-3-0.