Cricket: Without Kohli, India 146-5 in 2nd test in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — India lost captain Virat Kohli to injury before the game and struggled in his absence to reach 146-5 at tea on the opening day of the second test against South Africa on Monday.

Kohil was ruled out with an upper back spasm as India, which leads the three-match contest 1-0, sought to win its first test series in South Africa.

Opening batsman KL Rahul stood in as skipper and provided the core of India’s resistance with his 50 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first at the Wanderers. But Rahul fell just before tea to a lofted hook shot and a diving catch by Kagiso Rabada at square leg to leave India five-down.

That gave Marco Jansen (2-18) his second wicket. Rabada also had one and fellow fast bowler Duanne Olivier, recalled to the team after a three-year absence, took two wickets in the first session.

India slipped to 53-3 in that first session in a troublesome start for the tourists following the news of Kohli’s injury.

Olivier’s wickets came on consecutive balls as he made an immediate impact on his recall. Olivier last played a test in February 2019 and had seemingly abandoned his international career to play county cricket in England. He even had to get a new test cap for the game after framing his original cap because he thought he’d never use it again.

He removed Cheteshwar Pujara for 3 and then Ajinkya Rahane first ball to a tumbling catch by Keegan Petersen at gully. Jansen had made the first breakthrough for South Africa when opener Mayank Agarwal edged behind for 26.

Hanuma Vihari, in the team in place of Kohli, fell to Rabada for 20 after lunch and thanks to a one-handed grab by Rassie van der Dussen at short leg.

Ravichandran Ashwin was 24 not out off just 21 balls at the tea break to counter. Rishabh Pant was with him on 13.

India won the first test in Centurion by 113 runs and has a strong record at the Wanderers to boost its chance of finally cracking South Africa in a test series. India has never lost in five tests at the Wanderers dating back to 1992.

Vihari in for Kohli was India’s only team change. South Africa made two changes, with Kyle Verreynne in as wicketkeeper for Quinton de Kock. De Kock was due to miss the rest of the series anyway for the birth of his first child but made a shock announcement at the end of the first test last week that he was retiring from test cricket at the age of 29.