India vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Day 2: Indian quicks push visitors onto the backfoot after Virat Kohli slams double century
To classify South Africa's performance on Day 2 of the second Test at the MCA Stadium in Pune as horrendous would be an understatement. Virat Kohli pummeled the visitors into submission with a marathon knock following which India declared having racked up a colossal first innings total of 601/5.
Three quick wickets then put the icing on the cake for the hosts, leaving South Africa wobbling at 36/3 at the end of the day.
After neutralizing South Africa's pace battery in the first hour of the morning session, Kohli unfurled pristine drives to break the shackles. Meanwhile, looseners from pacer Anrich Nortje were met with brutal square cuts from Ajinkya Rahane, who registered his half-century off 141 deliveries.
Besides producing an exhibition of quality strokes, Kohli and Rahane also scampered across the pitch regularly to pick up quick singles and doubles as they toyed with the South African bowling.
After remaining in the 'nervous 90s' for 23 balls, the Indian captain reached the magical three-figure mark with a tremendous shot down the ground off Vernon Philander. Kohli kept the scoreboard ticking despite Rahane's dismissal for a gritty 58 at the other end.
With India piling on the runs and the blazing heat providing no mercy, things began to unravel quickly for the visitors. Quinton de Kock even got involved in a heated argument with pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada, reprimanding him for lobbing an unnecessary throw.
Meanwhile, Kohli continued to amass the runs with absurd ease, registering his 7th double century - the most by any Indian player - by scampering for two alongside Ravindra Jadeja. Just when it looked like South Africa had dismissed the Indian skipper, for 208, replays showed that Senuran Muthusamy had overstepped, thereby handing him a reprieve.
Kohli upped the ante thereafter, nonchalantly creaming the hapless bowling attack as India searched for quick runs.
At the other end, Ravindra Jadeja compensated for a cautious start by nailing boundaries with the utmost disdain. The all-rounder eventually miscued a hoick for Theunis de Bruyn to comfortably settle underneath at long-on, but only after having guided India past the 600-mark with a quick-fire 91.
Following India's declaration, the Proteas were tasked with batting out the rest of the day but they were rocked early. Umesh Yadav drew first blood for the hosts, trapping Aiden Markram in front of the stumps.
Dean Elgar, caught in two minds about whether to defend or leave, eventually poked at one with no conviction, the ball ricocheting on to the timber to hand Umesh his 2nd wicket.
Mohammed Shami then prised out a timid Temba Bavuma, who nicked one to the 'keeper while hesitantly poking outside his off-stump.
South Africa ended the day 565 runs behind and are now left to contemplate what could be another comprehensive defeat.
Brief scores: India 601/5 decl. (Virat Kohli 254*, Mayank Agarwal 108; Kagiso Rabada 3-93) lead South Africa 36/3 (Theunis de Bruyn 20*, Anrich Nortje 2*; Umesh Yadav 2-16) by 565 runs.