In the game of cricket, players are often remembered for their tons and fifties. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are two such players who will always be known for their tons but some fans might also call their names for their fifties. However, at the Wanderers, the Virat Kohli’s 41 and Ajinkya Rahane’s 48 will always carry more weight than their 50s and 100s.
Still, the heroic performance of Kohli and Rahane didn’t get the much deserving acknowledgment from the audience because of their incomplete 50s. The pitch where most experienced players find it hard to play, and even Sunil Gavaskar argued the pitch as unplayable, both Rahane and Kohli showed courage to handle pacers head on. On the pitch where batsmen take a step backward seeing a pacer run in, the Indian duo showed the courage to stride forward.
During the morning session, it was not just the batsmen who got nervous about the pitch but also the umpires, curators, and bosses at the ICC headquarters. The pitch behaved in an unexpected manner and even the semi-new ball chucked grass every time it hit the deck. This created a scuffed up area at about 6 meters from the batsmen that changed the flow of the ball depending on where it was hit. If the ball hits the inside of the crater it would keep low and if it hits the edge it would take off.
The condition of the pitch was so bad that it hassled batsmen and gave them a tough time to stand on the pitch and gave some hard body blows. Indian team’s physio Patrick Farhat was needed so often on the pitch that he would have needed attention by the evening for working so hard. Every player who went on the pitch had injuries, Kohli injured his ribs, Vijay on his thighs and Rahane on elbows. But they still performed with their injuries
At Wanderers Philander was the most gruesome baller whose pace balls kept every Indian batsman on the feet. His bowling variation teamed with the erratic nature of the pitch made it too difficult to score runs.
Even though Rahane and Kohli missed their fifty but this game can never be judged based on the numbers, because it was a moral win for the Indian team that shows the courage of the players.