Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra heaped rich praise on Virat Kohli for his knock in the first innings of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, saying that the Indian skipper walked the talk by showcasing the patient side.
Team India displayed poor batting performance in the first innings of the ongoing third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. However, skipper Virat Kohli stole the limelight with his gritty 79-run knock and helped his side post a total of 223 runs on the board.
After Team India lost both the openers early, Indian skipper Virat Kohli joined hands with Cheteshwar Pujara to bail his team out of the trouble, stitching 62 runs partnership for the third wicket.
Kohli looked very compact and showed immense discipline to the deliveries outside off-stump, playing close to his body, which was the main highlight of his innings. The Indian skipper was the lone warrior for his side and was the only one who crossed the 50-run mark in the first innings.
Speaking on Star Sports, former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra opined about Virat Kohli’s innings in the first innings of the ongoing third Test against South Africa said that his innings was crucial for the context of the Test match and for himself.
He added that the Indian skipper sets lofty standards for himself and he was aware that he has not been living up to those standards and with his knock of 79 runs he walked the talk.
"Absolutely critical for the context of this Test match and for Virat Kohli himself. He sets some lofty standards for himself and he would know that he has not been living up to those standards for quite some time now.
“When you come into the last Test of the series after missing the 2ndd Test, you have won the toss, now is the time to walk the talk,” Aakash Chopra said.
Chopra said that Virat Kohli soaked all the pressure by being patient. He pointed out that Kohli did play drives, he didn’t shelve it.
He added that the Indian skipper forced bowlers to come to him and showed great resilience, which is associated with a class player like him.
"He was there soaking all the pressure. We have seen the dominating Virat Kohli many times over. But we have also now seen Virat Kohli, the guy who is patient, who is absorbing all the pressure. He has not shelved the drive. We saw him hit boundaries with drives but it happened over the course of 201 balls.
“He forced bowlers to come to him. It wasn't about just getting rid of a shot from his armory. It was all about making the bowlers come to you than you go fishing. It was mind over matter. That resilience is what you associate with a class player like Virat Kohli,” he said.
While talking about India’s performance with the bat on Day 1 of the ongoing Cape Town Test, Aakash Chopra said that every batter except Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara would be disappointed as they failed to cash the advantage of winning the toss and batting first. He further added that visitors’ batting is letting them down.
"Well, if you are a batter, except Kohli and Pujara, I think you would be disappointed. Your team has won the toss, you opted to bat first, and yet you were not able to last 3 sessions. There is an advantage of winning the toss and batting first, you can make the opposition bat last.
“But you would want them to bat last on a Day 5 pitch and not on the 3rd or 4th day. We saw that happen in Wanders as well. India batting is letting down the batting," he concluded.
After ending their first innings on 223 runs, Jasprit Bumrah made sure that the Virat Kohli-led side end the day on high. The pacer removed South African skipper Dean Elgar for 3 runs to leave hosts tumbling at 17/1 at stumps on Day 1.
(Star Sports inputs)