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India vs South Africa: Hardik Pandya backs himself and we believe in him, says Virat Kohli

In a time when India's batting order appeared collapsing like dominoes, Pandya (93) played responsible cricket and established a 99-run partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (25) to stabilise the visitors in the first innings.

Written by: Akash Khanna, New Delhi [ Published on: January 09, 2018 11:09 IST ]
Image Source : AP Hardik Pandya avoids a ball off the bowling of Dale Steyn during the second day of the first Test in Cape Town

Amidst conditions that saw the fall of great batsmen Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Cheteshwar Pujara, all-rounder Hardik Pandya displayed tremendous grit and scored a 93-run knock to ignite some hopes for the struggling visitors in their first innings at Newlands, Cape Town.

Even though Kohli-led India lost the 1st Test by 72 runs, Pandya's posted a strong impression with his imposing knock. The 24-year-old batsman slammed 14 boundaries and a six in his entertaining 95-ball knock.

In a time when India's batting order appeared collapsing like dominoes, Pandya (93) played responsible cricket and established a 99-run partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (25) to stabilise the visitors in the first innings.

Watching him contribute in tough times, captain Kohli heaped praise on the young all-rounder, calling him a "strong character" in the post-match conference on Monday.

Revealing what makes him believe in Pandya, Kohli said: "He's (Hardik Pandya) a strong character. He backs himself and we believe in him. He's performing for us now, even away from home. That knock was brilliant, showed a lot of character."

Pacer Vernon Philander claimed three wickets as South Africa bowled out India for 135 in their second innings, registering a 72-run victory on the fourth day to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series.

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