India in South Africa

Second Test, day 4, as it happened: Series defeat on the cards as Kohli falls in chase of 287

Live updates and analysis of all the action from Supersport Park, Centurion.

Target 287: India lose Vijay, Rahul and importantly, Kohli.
The Shami Show: Four wicket haul helps India dismiss SA for 258.
Day three: After Kohli masterclass, ABD puts South Africa ahead.

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Wrap-up: So India need 252 runs to win this match but more relevantly, South Africa need 7 wickets in 98 overs to seal this series 2-0. Had Virat Kohli remained unbeaten, India would have harbored hopes. (Sounds familiar?) But he is not, and India are staring at a series defeat. Once again, Indian batting is not backing up the bowlers who have taken 20 wickets for the second match running. While Vijay and Kohli got unplayable deliveries, KL Rahul’s wicket will rankle. Join us tomorrow for the final day.

The story of the final session was Lungi Ngidi and here’s how the over that changed the match panned out.

Some reaction on Twitter: Game as good as gone for India? But hey, we have seen weird things happen in cricket all the time. One never knows.

STUMPS - after 23 overs, India 35/3: After Ngidi’s fiery spell ends with another fiery over to Parthiv, Maharaj comes on to bowl the final over of the day. Pujara takes a single off the first ball and goes off strike to let Parthiv negotiate the rest of the last over and India finish with three wickets down.

The highlight of that session has to be Ngidi - what a spell. Finishes with 6-2-14-2.

After 21 overs, India 32/3: Pujara continues to leave anything outside off stump but working anything that is on his pads for the odd ones and twos. Ngidi from the other end continues to pepper Parthiv with fireballs, but the fighter that he is Parthiv soldiers on, squirting the odd ball through cover or third man off the outside edge.

About two overs left for the day.

After 19 overs, India 28/3: Another probing over from Morkel to Pujara. There was one that jagged away from good length and beat Pujara all ends up (well, well - might have taken a faint tickle actually but no review). More treatment for Parthiv by the way - a chest guard and what looks like a painkiller. That really was quite the blow.

After 18 overs, India 26/3: In case you missed it, Parthiv Patel came out to bat ahead of Rohit Sharma. He has not had a good Test so far and it gets worse as he gets one on the ribs from Ngidi. On a pitch that has not had much bounce, the ball rears up from good length and thuds into Parthiv’s ribs. He’s winded and is on the ground, as Ngidi coolly walks back to the top of his run-up. Parthiv needs treatment. The very next ball keeps low from the same length and Parthiv just about keeps it out. What an over! What a spell this.

After 16 overs, India 26/3 - VIRAT KOHLI GONE! Is that the match for South Africa? WHAT A DEBUT FOR NGIDI! This is a brilliant delivery. Good length, pitches well outside off and then jags back in, Kohli is on his toes, stuck at the crease, and cannot get his bat down in time - the ball crashes into the knee roll. He reviews it (has to really) but it can’t save him. Three reds on the DRS. Ngidi is thrilled. Why shouldn’t he be?

After 14 overs, India 21/2: First runs for India in a while and they are lucky runs. Kohli gets off the mark in streaky fashion. Ngidi squares him up as he tried to flick it through the leg side but it gets the leading edge and goes to the third man boundary for 4.

After 13 overs, India 16/2: Once again, India are in the danger of going into a shell. No runs in the last 3 overs and the wicket of Rahul to go with it. Morkel and Ngidi bowling in tandem now. Morkel bowls a good first over to Pujara - he’s getting plenty of bounce and carry, which has been a rare sight on this track.

After 11.1 overs, India 16/2 - Ngidi removes Rahul: Well, well. India are falling into a familiar trap at Centurion. A good start is so essential in a run chase and India do not have that. It’s yet another poor shot by Rahul - a soft dismissal if ever there was one. Ngidi comes into the attack and his first ball was short and wide, Rahul tamely lofts it to the fielder at point. There is enough danger on the pitch that run-scoring is difficult, playing shots like these will make matters only worse for India.

After 10 overs, India 16/1: Pujara and Rahul are looking to rotate the strike now after those four maiden overs on the trot. And that’s something that will be crucial because the longer you stay at the crease facing the same bowler, the sooner you are going to be set up with the variable bounce. Philander and Rabada have both bowled five overs each.

Here’s what Virat Kohli said after the defeat at Newlands, applies to this situation as well. Can India rectify their errors from Cape Town?

“Losing wickets in bunches is something we have to plug in. It was a great effort but we needed someone to get a 75 or 80. 20s or 30s were not enough. This game is all about partnerships, and crucial runs, and they did better.”

— Kohli after Newlands defeat

After 8 overs, India 11/1 - Vijay gone! The pressure has paid off for South Africa. The variable bounce on the pitch accounts for another batsman. Vijay is left shaking his head - the ball pitches just outside stump on a good length, angling in and keeping low, Vijay gets an under edge and is stumps are disturbed. Rahul was lucky to escape in the previous over but Vijay not so much. Very similar to Bumrah’s early strikes in the South African innings.

After 7 overs, India 11/0: Three maidens in a row and the last ball of that over by Philander almost had Rahul! After consistently bowling outside the stump, Philander gets one on the off stump and it keeps very low – literally an inch away from the off stump! Rahul survives.

After 6 overs, India 11/0: Two maiden overs on the trot. The first few overs have seen the South African pacers target the outside offstump channel but Philander starts to bring it in tighter, as Rabada in the next over. Both the openers leaving the ball.

After 4 overs, India 11/0: The running between the wickets has been a bit dodgy between these two so far. Vijay taps to Rabada at mid-on and takes off, but thankfully for him, Rabada slips. Could have been interesting otherwise. Vijay then hits the first boundary of the innings, confident push off the back foot through point off Rabada - Faf immediately places a deep fielder there and Vijay takes a single. Six runs from that over.

After 2 over, India 3/0: And it’s not Morkel but the No 1 Test bowler in the world right now from the other end. So as it should be. Rabada will trouble India on this pitch with variable bounce. Good first over from him. Vijay gets two runs thanks to an overthrow. The last ball of that over was interesting - 142 kph on the fourth stump and it goes on the bounce to QdK - kept very low, but Vijay saw it all the way through.

After 1 over, India 1/0: Philander gets things going in the final innings. Vijay gets off the mark straight away with a push to gully region. Rahul plays out the over - leaving mostly, with Philander going wide outside offstump but there was one ball where he went chasing. Played and missed.

All set for the final innings : Well, this is it. If the No 1 ranked side want to avoid a series defeat, they have a daunting (but not impossible) task ahead of them. Our poll indicates the fans think India have more than a decent shot at winning this, but it will have to be a collective effort.

INNINGS BREAK: The thing about that Faf du Plessis innings is that, despite him being out in the middle for so long, the target never swelled in a hurry and at the end India need 287 runs to win with nearly 120 overs left in the match. Time is definitely not going to be an issue. This match is wide open.

(And a caveat to all the records about chasing at this ground – none of those pitches were like this. So the numbers don’t mean much. Deep down, the Indian batsmen know that, if they play to their potential, this is gettable.)

SOUTH AFRICA 258 ALL OUT - India need 287 runs to win: So India wrap up the innings quickly in the final session as Ashwin gets his first wicket of the innings. He would have hoped it wasn’t the No 11 batsman - Ngidi goes for the big shot, can’t clear long on.

After 90 overs, South Africa 258/9: Poor from Ashwin. Gets one over at Morkel, bowls two balls on the pads and concedes six runs. The last ball was the worst of the lot, sliding on to his pads with fielders on the offside - and Morkel puts it away to square leg with ease. And Bumrah goes short-short at Ngidi followed by a yorker that is dug out - loud cheers from the dressing room as he gets off the mark. And louder cheers off the last ball as Morkel powers a lofted shot over mid on for four.

Here’s Ashish Magotra’s take on Faf du Plessis’ different kind of intent:

If Faf du Plessis has a motto, it must be pretty similar to ‘slow and steady wins the race.’

AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli put the opposition on the back foot by playing their shots, du Plessis does it by staying in the middle and wearing down the opposition. His 48 off 141 balls helped SA claw back their lost advantage and put them in a position where they would feel relatively comfortable.

Run-scoring isn’t easy on the pitch – it has uneven bounce and is double paced as well. It is particularly difficult for the new batsmen but can surprise the established batsman - case in point being AB - too.
His 48 is a vital knock in the circumstances and might have done the trick for the home team. 

Still, India will believe that they are in with a chance; Kohli certainly will be up for the fight but can the others support him too?

In this series, du Plessis has scored 173 at a strike rate of 44.58. Numbers that will certainly do Cheteshwar Pujara proud.  

After 89 overs, South Africa 245/9: And Faf is gone! There’s another twist in the tale here. Faf kept denying Morkel the single off the first two balls of the over, off the fourth ball, Bumrah makes up for that missed caught-and-bowled in the previous over, with a stunning one-handed grab now to send back the South African skipper. It was a slower ball, one that we see a lot from Bumrah with the white ball, and it does the trick. He gets two balls at Ngidi and two near-yorkers are kept out by the debutant.

Ashwin from the other end. Can he get his first wicket to end this innings?

After 88 overs, South Africa 245/8: And Shami gets his fourth. It’s a mystery why he bowled just a one over in the second session but Shami strikes again early in the last session of the day. Great ball to Rabada from around the wicket, pitches on good length and straightens with the angle, Rabada pushes at it and Kohli takes a safe catch at second slip (how about that!)

After 87 overs, South Africa 244/7: Weird over by Bumrah. First ball, he gets Faf to dig out a full ball and it’s in the air, travelling back at the bowler at pace but Bumrah was looking to avoid it more than catch it – a better athlete (read: fielder) would have caught that. HE then gets a crack at Rabada for four balls and bowls four bouncers - only one of which was well-directed.

Stat alert: India’s highest 4th innings total in South Africa - 206/3 (draw) Port Elizabeth 2001. Next best 179 (lost) Durban 2006. The highest successful chase at Centurion is 251/8 by England against South Africa in 2000. The numbers are indicating this match is slipping away from India steadily. (Although this is a first-of-its-kind pitch here at Super Sport Park, so the numbers don’t mean that much anyway.)

After 85 overs, South Africa 242/7: Excitement! Boundaries! Rabada plays one of the shots of the day - there have not been many, to be fair, since lunch was taken - a lovely off drive past mid-off. Ashwin from one end, Shami from the other. And no new ball yet.

And Bumrah from the other end. Lost track of how many bowling changes Kohli has made in the last 10 overs or so. And Faf showcases the I-word (#intent) finally – one cover drive for two, followed by his first shot in anger in a long time - a heave over midwicket for four.

Back for the final session - fair warning, this is going to go on for a while. FORTY FIVE OVERS REMAINING. Half a regular day needs to be bowled in one (extended) session. About that over rate.......

Ashwin to continue with the old ball.

TEA TIME - After 82 overs, South Africa 230/7: What has gotten into Faf du Plessis? He hits another boundary! Jokes apart, that’s a fine pull shot to the boundary on the stroke of tea as Shami gets one over with the old ball and he reaches 3000 Test runs. He’s currently unbeaten on 37 off 122 balls and South Africa’s lead swells to 258. 27 overs in that session (that was extended by 15 minutes - atrocious over rate!) and 57 runs scored by South Africa. The Proteas have used up time but have not pushed too far ahead.

A session that could be described as bizarre, one thinks.

After 80 overs, South Africa 225/7: The lead has inched (crawled?) past 250! He hit a boundary off the 7th ball he faced and the second boundary for Faf comes 106 balls later as he crunches one through cover off a rare wide ball from Pandya. Ashwin bowled just one over and Pandya replaced him in that end. And with Rabada on strike, Ashwin comes on from the other end and plays out an entire over - beaten a couple of times but hangs in there.

The new ball is now available but Pandya is continuing from the other end. Looks like Kohli will wait.

After 76 overs, South Africa 215/7: Well, well. Ishant Sharma is a happy chappy. Second wicket of the spell and has been the case through out this match, one wicket brings another. Maharaj has edged one to keeper Parthiv from a short ball that rose up to his helmet height, on the fourth stump channel once again. More delight for Ishant. And Kohli lets out a roar too.

South Africa are in a bit of a bother here as Ashwin comes back to the attack, still searching for his first wicket.

After 74 overs, South Africa 211/6 - a breakthrough for INDIA! After 18.3 overs for 36 runs since lunch, Philander finally throws it away. Its a bouncer from Ishant Sharma that does the trick - Big Vern tries to pull, gets it high on the bat and it goes straight to Vijay at square leg. Ishant lets out a roar. India sense a way back into this one, with the lead at 239.

After 73 overs, South Africa 209/5: 36 runs scored in 18 overs since lunch. Ishant and Hardik continue to operate a steady 4th stump line - there’s no *cough* INTENT *cough* from Faf and Philander to score quick runs. Pandya has tried going around the wickets to Philander with a leg slip in place, Philandrer has still scored a few runs to the right of that fielder and to the fine leg. The lead is currently 237. The new ball is due in 7 overs, wonder which side that’s going to benefit.

Meanwhile the band is playing again - Mbangwa says it’s almost as if the crowd is serenading when they know the match is not moving forward.

Drinks - South Africa 206/5 after 70 overs: This game needed a break. Let’s hope the drinks give the bowlers or batsmen a sugar rush and things start to happen on the other side. The partnership is now 43 off 134 balls.

Data check: The one partnership that could define this match is the 141-run stand between Elgar and ABD.

After 69 overs, South Africa 205/5: Not sure if it’s the Chinese food I had for lunch or the 128-ball 42-run partnership between Faf and Philander, the eyes feel heavy - this has got to be the least exciting phase of Test cricket we have had in this series so far. Very little happening. Not much intent shown by either batsman to score runs, nothing much happening for Indian bowlers...

...who, Ashish Magotra thinks, have not hunted as a pack:

It has been an innings defined by two individual spells. Bumrah took two wickets in a burst early on and Shami did the same with three wickets in a seven-over spell as the first session on Day 4 came to an end.

But in between, the bowlers let South Africa off the hook by bowling too many loose balls. India’s problem today has been that their bowlers haven’t worked well as a unit. When one does well, the other is usually taking the foot off the pedal.

It has meant that SA have always had breathing space. And Kohli will be disappointed by that. The best attacks hunt as a unit and the sustained pressure always gets the results.

When SA had a mini-collapse and was reduced to 5-163, India had the opportunity to drive home the advantage but instead, they have allowed another partnership to build. Faf du Plessis and Vernon Philander have stayed in the middle and put on a vital partnership (over 40 runs and counting currently). More importantly, they have batted out time – it’s been 20 overs since the last wicket fell.  

After 66 overs, SA 200/5: This is attritional cricket now. Pandya has a loud appeal for LBW - got excited appealing that he fell down. Kohli reluctantly goes for DRS (how many times does Kohli actually go for DRS with confidence? It always seems with hope more than conviction!) - this looks like it hit Faf high on the pads and potentially missing leg as well, but luckily for India it turns out to be umpire’s call - review retained. Ishant bowls a good probing over from the other end, the ball is definitely reversing and Faf is squared up on more than one occasion. Pandya continues from the other end concedes two runs, couple of balls keeping low.

The lead swells to 230.

After 64 overs, SA 199/5: Pandya, Ishant bowling in tandem now. It was a good first over from Pandya, with speed in the high 130s and the ball moving in. Ishant from the other end, and he tries varying his pace – rolling the fingers over, but Faf reads them well.

Meanwhile, there is a band playing some soothing music - heard loud and clear on the television as well. Almost a Sri Lankan feel to this game right now - and it’s not just about the pitch.

After 62 overs, SA 195/5 - lead by 223 runs: Everything seems a bit flat post lunch, the chirping from India has gone down. Ashwin looks non-threatening. Bumrah is in the middle of a probing spell, but nothing untoward happening off the pitch. There is one epic moment though. Bumrah delivers a brilliant yorker that Faf keeps out – but Kohli suspects this might have hit the toe first. Goes up for the review and lo and behold, that’s hit Faf’s bat plumb in the middle. Not even an edge. Philander finishes that over with a four to fine leg.

Pandya into the attack for the first time in this innings...

After 59 overs, SA 185/5: Ashwin has conceded 9 runs from the two overs he has bowled so far. Four singles from the first and a boundary and a single off the next - Philander and Faf are reading him quite well. The boundary was a fantastic shot by Big Vern – it was a half volley alright, but he got to the pitch and drove his handsomely past cover. Ashwin is looking a bit flat at this moment.

Second session underway

After 56 overs, SA 175/5: Bumrah starts proceedings after lunch and concedes two runs. A couple of balls reared up from good length, troubling Philander. And hitting him on the gloves awkwardly.

Ashwin from the other end, who has been wicket-less in this innings so far...

04:00 pm: Meanwhile, India Under-19 recorded a very convincing win today and that man Prithvi Shaw looked in fine touch once again. Check out the highlights:

LUNCH, South Africa lead by 201 runs - 173/5: One over for Bumrah after Shami’s great spell, just one run from it. Faf du Plessis then takes forever to see off Ashwin, to ensure that is the last over before lunch and it is. This has been a fine battle so far this morning. We all need a break to digest that, join us soon for more action on the other side.

After 53 overs, SA 172/5: The lead is now 200 for South Africa. All said and done, that’s a very healthy position to be in. Shami continues to bowl in great rhythm now, almost had Faf with a ball that tailed back in vigorously, but the bounce saves the South Africa captain. The running between the wickets continues to be dodgy between these two batsmen. Ashwin continues to bowl well without success, another maiden over to Philander from the other end - four balls over the wicket and two around the wicket.

After 51 overs, SA 169/5: Philander and Faf du Plessis at the crease now and the calling has been extra loud (Remember what happened in the first innings?) Ashwin continues to get good purchase but doing everything but getting a wicket to his name - Philander all at sea with the ball that lands well outside stump and ends up cramping him for room on the leg stump.

Here’s Ashish Magotra on Shami’s spell so far:

For the longest time on Day 4, Mohammad Shami was kept out of the attack by Virat Kohli. His climb down the pecking order has been there for all to see.

In his first over back, he got hit for nine runs - one four each to AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar. It was poor bowling from the speedster whose inconsistency has hurt India in this series. It seemed like we would get more of that in the spell to follow.

But then he suddenly became the partnership breaker. One delivery to AB was in the perfect channel and it bounced more than the batsman expected. It took the edge on the way to keeper for an easy catch; so easy that even Parthiv could not drop that.

A couple of overs later, he went around the wicket and managed to claim the well set Elgar. It wasn’t a great delivery and Elgar pulled it well but straight to Rahul in the deep.

Then, he got four edges in four balls from de Kock’s bat. The fourth went to Parthiv, who once again managed to hold on. De Kock was clearly uncomfortable and threw his bat at everything. He got a few fours and Shami eventually got his wicket.

Still, SA went from 2-144 to 5-163 in a matter of minutes and India are right back into the game. The wickets certainly have Shami charging in that little bit more and that is exactly what Kohli would have wanted. SA would love to get ahead by 250 now but it could go either way.  

After 48 overs, SA 164/5 - Shami gets QDK too! WOW. What an over that was. “Not sure I have seen anything like this,” says Mbangwa on air. OK, so this is what happened. Shami starts the over to QdK (who was on a king pair) with just one wide slip - the first ball is cut and cut hard, flies just over Rohit Sharma. The next ball takes the leading edge and it once again goes between keeper and the slip - costly decisions by captain Kohli really. Third ball takes the edge again and this goes away from the newly stationed second slip. And the fourth ball, QdK edges it again and Patel catches that one!

This is how it went down.

After 47 overs, SA 151/4 - Ashwin should have had his first wicket but to be fair this is a tough chance. Faf du Plessis tries to guide down the fine leg, KL Rahul is at leg slip and puts down a tough chance.

After 46 overs, SA 151/4 - ELGAR GONE! And Shami has turned this around (for his team and perhaps, for himself too) He has looked off colour for most of this series but he breaks the partnership that frustrated India and gets Elgar to back it up as well. Goes around the wicket, keeps a fielder in the deep - Elgar pulls and find KL Rahul who almost drops it, takes it in the second attempt.

Analysis: Excellent visualisation and analysis of the ABD dismissal.

After 45 overs, SA 150/3: The 150 is up for South Africa and India will hope that there is not another partnership developing. Ashwin and Shami bowling in tandem - the former continues to trouble Elgar. There are plenty of ooohs, aaahs and shabassh Ash chirping but the wicket still eludes Ashwin. That’s a maiden over. Elgar has hung on impressively – some display of grit this. Faf gets going with a sweep shot for four off Ashwin’s previous over.

Data check: We spoke a lot about Kohli’s conversion rate yesterday, but did you know who’s next to him in the current generation? It’s Dean Elgar, who now has 9 50s to go with his 10 100s.

DRINKS, South Africa 144/3 - AB de Villiers gone! The drinks will taste all the more sweet for India as Shami gets their first breakthrough at the stroke of the hour mark. The ball landed at good length and bounces extra - taking ABD by surprise - and it kisses the glove and lobs into Parthiv Patel’s hands. This was the length that ABD was cutting off the backfoot handsomely all morning but he’s caught on the front foot and fending at this one - Kohli is delighted, relief for Shami!

After 41 overs, South Africa 144/2: Elgar is tempted by Ashwin into playing a false shot in the 39th over, a miscued lofted shot trickles down the ground for four. From the other end, Shami comes on to bowl and concedes 9 runs – one boundary each for ABD and Elgar - and he continues to be below par in this series.

The lead has gone past 150 and SA are looking good for a big score here.

After 38 overs, SA 128/2: FIFTY FOR DEAN ELGAR! It’s not been pretty runs but these are useful runs – he has grown into this innings and looks in rhythm now. Gets to the landmark with a cover drive for four off Ishant, who is now losing it a bit. Sledging Elgar, then throwing the ball back at him in frustration - sums up India’s morning so far.

After 37 overs, SA 123/2: Ashwin into the attack for the first time today, Ishant continues from the other end - beats ABD with a beauty but then ABD responds with a cut short so powerful that even he didn’t expect a boundary for, calling two, but it races past the deep point fielder. Ashwin’s first over sees him get turn but once again it’s slow turn - ABD finishes the over with another cut shot for four.

After 35 overs, South Africa 112/2: The 100-run stand is up between Elgar and ABD and they have not been troubled this morning so far - except one delivery by Bumrah which kept very low and got a wry smile out of ABD. You simply can’t do anything about that. Bumrah, then, bowls perhaps the over of the morning – beating Elgar outside his offstump with a ball that shapes away after pitching. Another ball gets the outside edge but it falls short of Kohli and he misses it completely to give the batsman four runs.

JUST IN: Virat Kohli fined by ICC for the drama in the last session last night.

Kohli has been fined 25 percent of his match fee and received one demerit point for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third day’s play in the second Test against South Africa at Centurion on Monday. 

Kohli was found to have breached Article 2.1.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.” 

Monday’s incident happened in the 25th over of South Africa’s second innings when Kohli continued to complain to umpire Michael Gough about the ball being affected by a damp outfield following a rain delay, before throwing the ball into the ground in an aggressive manner. 

After the day’s play, Kohli pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Chris Broad of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

— via ICC

After 32 overs, South Africa 99/2: ABD gets going for the day with the most elegant of cover drives - no number of replays can do justice to how perfect that shot was. Good length ball from Bumrah, on the fourth stump, ABD plants his front foot forward, and connects the ball bang in the middle of the sweet spot and it races to the boundary. A lengthy over from Ishant at the other end, with field placement delays and what not. A muffled LBW appeal against ABD, but that was going down leg.

After 30 overs, South Africa 91/2: Just one over in and Kohli has already given us something to talk about. With Ishant bowling a fifth stump line to ABD, there is only one slip - a fairly wide first slip. Michael Holding says he simply cannot understand that tactic, in the very first over of the day. Just a single in that over.

And Kepler Wessels is confounded by Jasprit Bumrah bowling from the end he did not take his two wickets.

Kohli, eh?

Meanwhile, here’s the update on the pitch: Pollock and Wessels were surprised by the fact that there are no cracks on the pitch yet despite the brown nature of the track and the heat - the only deterioration is due to the bowlers’ footmarks.

Play!

01:30 pm: Ishant Sharma with the ball in his hand. ABD on strike, unbeaten on 50. South Africa effectively 118/2. Which way is the pendulum going to swing?

What’s been said

Morne Morkel spoke after the day’s play and said the pitch was ‘100% Indian’:

“I’ve played cricket here all my life, and I’ve never seen a wicket like this at the SuperSport Park. It was really hard work. In the heat, with conditions really tough, it was right up there with one of the hardest spells I’ve bowled,” said Morkel, after day three of the second Test.

“I think the pace of the wicket was the toughest aspect. You’ve got a small little window with the new ball. The reason might be because it was under covers overnight, but in the first hour the ball seems a little bit quicker off the deck.

“But after that, there’s actually been no pace in the wicket. It’s important to come out with different sort of game plans. You need to try a lot of things but we had runs on the board in the first innings to try different things. From a bowling point of view, it is definitely not the ideal sort of surface,” he added.

When asked if he would compare it with an Indian wicket, the pacer replied, “One hundred percent, yes. Its unheard of a spinner bowling that amount of overs on the first day. We even took the option to open in the over before lunch with a spinner [on Sunday].

“There’s a very sub-continental feel to it. It is tough to score, and tough to get people out. Luckily we’ve got some experience of that in the bank. But they are not the conditions that we want here in South Africa.”

Some news

01:20 pm: First things first, it’s sunny at Centurion. The sky is clear. Remember, play was cut short on day three - first with rain and then due to bad light. Shaun Pollock also said it rained heavily overnight - in typical Centurion style with thunder and lightning - but it’s dry and clear now, and we will go ahead with the cricket on time.

And there was another big team news from an Indian point of view - Wriddhiman Saha won’t be fit in time for the third Test and Dinesh Karthik will be his replacement. This news comes at a time when Parthiv Patel has had a bit of a horror game behind the stumps.

Look back on day three

01:10 pm: South Africa are 118 runs ahead with 8 wickets in hand. By all accounts, they are in the driver’s seat. But, Virat Kohli - the batsman - did his utmost to make sure the hosts haven’t run away with his game yet.

When Kohli is out in the middle, whether breaking records with his bat or chirping away as the captain, it’s theater - it’s popcorn material. Ashish Magotra writes about his topsy-turvy third day:

And Kohli has not been dismissed for less than 150 the last 10 times he has crossed 100 in Tests. This and more stats in this data analysis.

All set for day four

01:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to the fourth day of the second Test between India and South Africa. All 6 days of action so far in this series has been fascinating, and the seventh promises the same.

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The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

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The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.