Virat Kohli's unbeaten double ton piles agony on South Africa

On a day of records, Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten 254 as South Africa was left reeling at 36/3 in reply to India's mammoth 601/5 declare.

India skipper Virat Kohli soaks in the applause after scoring an unbeaten double century on Day two of the second Test.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Till July 2016, Virat Kohli did not have a single double century in Test cricket. But three years later, on a bright and sunny Friday afternoon, the India captain brought up his seventh double ton - notching an unbeaten 254 against South Africa.

The stellar innings not only helped India put up a mammoth 601-5 (decl) against the Proteas on the second day of the second Test, but also put the visiting side under immense pressure.

And that was evident as South Africa was left reeling at 36-3 at the end of the day, with Theunis de Bruyn (20) and Anrich Nortje (8) remaining unbeaten at the end of the day.

India vs South Africa | Second Test | Day 2 | As it Happened

While Umesh Yadav -- who was drafted into the side, keeping the nature of the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium’s wicket in mind -- scalped two wickets to put the visitor on the back foot, the day belonged to captain Kohli.

King Kohli oozes class

Against a South Africa bowling line-up, which failed to make an impact, Kohli hammered his first Test ton of the year, in eleven innings. And then, aptly summed it up by going past Sir Donald Bradman’s record of most number of 150-plus scores as a skipper.

While the Australian legend had gone past the 150 run-mark on eight occasions, Kohli now has nine in his kitty.

With the region witnessing incessant rain overnight, Kohli knew batting could be difficult in the first session, with South Africa having the quicks -- Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada -- in its ranks.

Not the one who would take a backward step, even under pressure, Kohli relied on his natural game and went on the counter-attack as he forged a 178-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane -- the highest for India against South Africa.

The two tackled the Proteas bowlers with ease, before Rahane fell for 59, caught behind by Quinton de Kock off Rabada, soon after lunch.

But the Proteas pacers struggled to keep King Kohli quiet. The 30-year-old ensured there was never a dull moment for the 6,000-odd spectators who had braved the scorching sun to come out and cheer for their favourite cricketer.

Jadeja, Kohli pile on the agony

Pairing with Ravindra Jadeja, Kohli added another 225 runs for the fifth wicket -- going hammer and tongs at the opposition bowlers. Soon after scoring his double century, Kohli, however, was caught at slip by Faf du Plessis off Senuran Muthusamy. But it turned out to be a no-ball!

Having got a reprieve, the captain took it slow after a point, allowing Jadeja to play a blitzkrieg innings of 91 in 104 balls and pile up quick runs.

Umesh Yadav celebrates after getting an early breakthrough.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

That strategy worked well for the host. On a track, which dried up as the game progressed, none of the Proteas bowlers could dig in and that was evident with the fact that only two Indian wickets fell in the entire day.

Just when it looked Jadeja, too, would score a ton, he was caught by de Bryun off Muthusamy, falling nine short of the three digit mark.

But by then, India had enough runs on the board to throw up a challenge for the young and inexperienced South African batting line-up.