Johannesburg: Virat Kohli led India’s fight against the South African pace attack, taking them to 164/4 at tea on Day 1 of the first Test at the New Wanderers Stadium here Wednesday.
The visitors put on 94 more runs in the second session but lost Cheteshwar Pujara (25) and Rohit Sharma (14) in the process. Kohli, on the other hand, raced away to an unbeaten 84 and was batting with Ajinkya Rahane (12 not out) when tea was called.
While Pujara was run out, Rohit nicked a Vernon Philander delivery while batting on 14.
Earlier, Pujara and Kohli survived the onslaught of speedsters Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, taking India to 70/2 at lunch.
The promising Indian pair showed fight, braving a fiery pace spell after openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Murali Vijay (6) were sent packing in the first hour after India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bat in sunny conditions.
Steyn, once again, looked threatening from ball one before striking in his fifth over, using the short ball tactic to remove Dhawan.
Vijay too struggled against high quality pace. His 42-ball innings ended after he fished at a full length ball outside off stump with keeper Ab de Villiers doing the rest, giving Morkel his first wicket.
Kohli and Pujara dealt with the hostile attack in contrasting fashion. Pujara played the waiting game scoring 18 off 61 balls while Kohli struck five fours.
Meanwhile, Dhoni became the first Indian to captain in 50 Tests with the start of the match.