India vs South Africa 2019: Did Virat Kohli’s ‘advice’ lead to Ravindra Jadeja’s dismissal on Day 2 of the second Test?
India declared their first innings in the second Test against South Africa at a commanding 601, immediately after the dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja. India’s mammoth innings was built largely by some behemoth partnerships, none more so than the double century fifth wicket partnership between Jadeja and captain Virat Kohli.
Their batting, especially after the tea break, was simply breathtaking. Kohli got a reprieve thanks to a Senuran Muthusamy no-ball immediately after reaching his double ton, and he went berserk after that.
But during that phase of the innings, when India needed quick runs for a relatively early declaration, Jadeja matched Kohli shot for shot, and possibly looked more assertive. Kohli had a few uncharacteristically loose wafts and mis-hits, but Jadeja looked fully in control.
With the bowlers tiring and the fields spread, it seemed almost inevitable that Jadeja would reach his second Test century.
On the first ball of the 157th over, which was the hapless Muthusamy’s 20th, Kohli had another mistimed waft and he took a single. That is when something interesting happened.
The stump mic picked up Kohli’s advice to Jadeja. He was heard telling the all-rounder that he did not need to look for just boundaries in the pursuit of his hundred which was just nine runs away, but that he could also get there by nudging the ball into the gaps and scoring twos.
This was an excellent piece of advice since the field was spread wide. Taking twos was less risky than attempting aerial shots, considering the fielders were hovering all around the boundary.
The very next ball was in Jadeja’s arc, and if he had approached it the way he had done until then, it could well have resulted in a maximum. But paying heed to Kohli’s advice, Jadeja tried to place it between the fielders and pushed it straight to mid-wicket.
Seeing Jadeja missing out on a scoring opportunity, Kohli told him to not miss out on balls that were in his arc. As it turned out, the next ball was anything but in his arc; it was a well-directed delivery just short of a length. But Jadeja danced down the track and gave it an almighty hoick, only managing to send it as far as long-on - where Theunis de Bruyn took an easy catch.
Did Jadeja misinterpret Kohli’s ‘advice’, did Kohli's message lead to confusion for Jadeja, whose mind was uncluttered until then? We'll never know, but Jadeja had to forego his century in the midst of all that.