Keshav Maharaj slammed his maiden fifty as South Africa fought against India in Pune. (Photo Credit: PTI)
At 162/8, South Africa were staring down the barrel in their pursuit of India's 601/5 declared. Faf du Plessis had fallen for 64 and one felt that it was only a matter of time before India enforced the follow-on. However, in a spirited display of batting, Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander held the Indian bowling at bay and stitched a record partnership for the ninth wicket to keep South Africa's fight going on day 3 of the Pune Test at the MCA stadium. Maharaj and Philander/s stand of 109 is the best for the ninth wicket in Tests between India and South Africa.
The duo broke the previous record of 91 which was incidentally set during the Vizag Test between Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy. This was the fourth best ninth wicket partnership by a visiting team in India. Both Maharaj and Philander batted sensibly and negotiated the pace and spin combination brilliantly. Philander was content on blocking balls and making slow progress while Maharaj capitalised on boundaries whenever given a chance.
Maharaj took a particular liking to Jadeja and Shami as he scored boundaries square of the wicket and straight down the ground to notch up his maiden fifty. The duo batted close to 40 overs and they looked like taking South Africa to safety. However, on 72, Maharaj looked to glance a flighted ball on the pads by Ravichandran Ashwin but he only managed to find Rohit Sharma who was perfectly positioned at leg slip. Philander played out a couple of overs but Kagiso Rabada was trapped LBW by Ashwin as South Africa conceded a 326-run lead.
The Pune Test has belonged to Kohli so far as he broke several records during his knock of 254. After notching up his seventh double ton, 19th as skipper and also went past 7000 runs in Tests, he clobbered Dean Elgar over wide long on to notch up his 250 and register his highest individual score in Tests. He went past Sachin Tendulkar's highest individual score of 248 which he made against Bangladesh in 2004.
This was Kohli's 50th Test as Indian skipper and this was his ninth 150-plus score as captain, breaking the record set by Sir Don Bradman who had smashed eight. Kohli has scored a century in 11 different venues in India and his 19th century as captain levelled the mark set by Ricky Ponting of Australia.