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Kohli, Rahane inspires India to set daunting fourth innings target

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Virat Kohli inspired an Indian middle and lower-order attack as the visitors were able to set a daunting fourth innings target on day three of the Third Sunfoil Freedom Test Match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

India managed to set the Proteas a victory target of 241 before they were bowled out in their second innings some hour and a quarter before the close of play. The Proteas had reached 17/1 in their response before Dean Elgar was felled by a short-pitched delivery and this plus the rain shower that followed caused the umpires to suspend play for the day some 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled close.

Kohli has had another magnificent match, leading his team well and managing to average almost 50 with the bat which is far better than anybody else has come close to achieving.

There is something reminiscent of the great Sir Vivian Richards in the way Kohli goes about his business. Nothing signified his intent better than his decision not to wear any obvious protective equipment apart from the prescribed protective helmet. This was against the background of most other batsmen wearing arm guards, chest protectors and the like regardless of their levels of skill.

India had lost two wickets early in the morning but, as always with Kohli, he suddenly made things look a lot easier and accelerated the scoring rate. He put on 43 for the fourth wicket with Murali Vijay before the latter was undone by a Kagiso Rabada Yorker and there were further useful partnerships involving both their batting specialists and the lower order.

What was more important was that they were scoring their runs at the rate of four to the over and there was no letting up as the ball became softer and the bowlers started to tire.

Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar added a further 55 for the seventh wicket and even Kumar and Mohammed Shami managed 35 for the eighth wicket.

Kumar has had a magnificent series in the two Test matches he has played both with bat and ball, being involved in key partnerships both at PPC Newlands and again here. In addition, his ability to swing the ball either way with equal facility has always troubled the Proteas top order.