Tourists South Africa are in real trouble on the morning of day three of the second Test against India.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami rattled South Africa’s top order in the first innings. And, resuming on the overnight score of 36/3, South Africa lost two wickets for just 17 runs in the morning session on day three.
Captain Virat Kohli scored an Indian record seventh Test double hundred as his side dominated day two of the second Test against the Proteas.
The hosts resumed on 273-3 and Kohli took his score from 63 to 254 not out as his side hit 601-5 before declaring.
The only India wickets to fall on the second day in Pune were Ajinkya Rahane (58) and Ravindra Jadeja (91).
South Africa lost Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma as they reached 36-3 at the close.
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Virat Kohli posted his highest Test score after becoming the first Indian to score seven double centuries to leave South Africa demoralised in Pune.
The hosts’ captain hit 254 not out, bettering by 11 his previous format best from almost two years and going past 7,000 Test runs in the process, in a total of 601 for five declared on day two of the second Test.
Having completed his 26th Test hundred – and first of the year – in the morning session, Kohli attacked after lunch and, by reaching 150 for the ninth time, broke Australian Don Bradman’s record of most 150-plus scores as captain.
Kohli also eclipsed national heroes Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag with his seventh double ton and only Bradman (12), Kumar Sangakkara (11) and Brian Lara (nine) have more.
He eventually brought an end to his 336-ball innings, which included two sixes and 33 fours, having shared stands of 178 with Ajinkya Rahan (59) and 225 with Ravindra Jadeja (91 off 104 balls).
However, the torment did not end there for the tourists after they were reduced to 36 for three at stumps, 565 behind, with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj taken for precautionary scans on a shoulder problem.
India lead the three-match series 1-0.
It could not have been a more chastening start to Misbah-ul-Haq’s tenure as Pakistan head coach and chief selector with the Men in Green ending up on the receiving end of a 3-0 T20I whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka on home soil.
That it came against a second-string Sri Lanka side missing as many as 10 senior players was even more embarrassing and it has led Misbah to openly question the domestic system of the No1 ranked T20I outfit in the world.
“This series has been an eye-opener for us and everyone else. These same players have been around for a while now,” the Pakistan coach stated after his side’s 13-run loss in the final T20 at Lahore.
“It is more or less the same team which made us No1 and has been playing together for around three to four years now.
“The result of series is also an eye-opener for our system as well. If we can lose to a side without its main players how did we think we were number one?”
While Misbah has questioned his side’s T20I credentials, his own selections including the recalls handed to Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad have been criticized by many in Pakistan’s cricket circles.
Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I rankings under previous head coach Mickey Arthur was an impressive one with the Men in Green winning 11 series on the bounce before running out of steam in the current year.
Misbah, however, has scoffed at any suggestions that the change in Pakistan’s T20 fortunes is due to a change of coach and strategy.
“I haven’t done anything in the last 10 days that could have deterred anything,” he quipped.
“If you want to put responsibility on me you can but in this brief time since I took charge how big a difference could I created with my coaching? The strategy was simple – to cash in on the powerplay and later go all out in the last five overs.
“These are the same players who took Pakistan on top but in this series they were not able to execute things well with the bat, ball and while fielding.”
A visibly irritated Misbah even resorted to sarcasm on being further prodded on the team’s failure in his first T20I series in charge as head coach.
“Maybe I did something? Probably I made our right-hand batsmen switch to left-handed batting or maybe made our right-handers bowl with the left arm or vice-versa? In terms of strategy, nothing really has changed but I am thinking what went wrong,” the former Pakistan skipper stated.
With the T20I World Cup in Australia just over a year away, Pakistan will have to quickly rediscover their magic touch if they are contend for the trophy. Their next T20I test will come on Australian soil as well with the team set to play three matches against the hosts beginning on November 3 at Sydney.