When India were set with a target of 208 in the 4th innings, all eyes were on how Virat Kohli would approach this target, as his innings in the middle order could shape the run chase for India.
The openers had set up a good opening stand, but the middle order then failed to capitalise on it, getting out in heaps to push the advantage towards South Africa, who ultimately cleaned up the Indian batting line up.
Vernon Philander was the hero for South Africa in the second innings, taking the all important wicket of Virat Kohli, who was looking good, batting at 28.
Kohli’s weakness outside the off stump is well known, especially in seaming and swinging conditions, where he often goes fishing for the ball on the 7th stump.
Kohli’s mode of dismissal was similar to his previous overseas dismissals, wherein he nicked off to the keeper, attempting to play a ball that was on the 7th stump.
In the second innings though, Kohli looked a determined man, leaving all balls outside the off stump and working the balls off his stump onto the leg side.
He wasn’t reaching out for the ball and thus playing in a very compact fashion, allowing the ball to come to him and playing it as late as possible.
Philander though kept on probing with his outside off stump line, bowling those out swingers to keep Virat Kohli quiet. Apparently that was Philander’s plan, who wanted to set Virat Kohli up by bowling those outswingers and keeping him quiet. He then dished out that lethal in-swinger to trap Kohli right in front, and effectively end India’s hopes of chasing down 208.
“Virat is a quality player, and the key thing is to keep him quiet, and make sure that we set him up with the other one. I always knew I had the one coming back!” Philander said.
“It was probably two-and-a-half overs of away-swingers and then the one back at him (Kohli). It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump.” he added.
Philander though did not really give any send off to Kohli and just wanted to pump his team mates up after they had seen the back of Kohli.
“I never said anything to him. It was just obviously on the spur of the moment I just tried to spur my boys on, and that’s what we tend to focus on.” the South African quick said.
“We knew that Virat was a big wicket to get, and getting him right there and then, I just strived to (enjoy it with) my boys.
When you look at the type of score that you have to defend, 208, someone has to make the play. You can’t wait for later in the game because there might not be a ‘later on in the game’,” Philander added, who was the highest wicket taker in the match.
India and South Africa will play the second Test on the 13th of January in Centurion with the Indian team desperately trying to make a comeback in the series