SA throw the bait again but Kohli doesn't bite this time

Kagiso Rabada wanted Virat Kohli to reach out. His first delivery post-tea seamed away from the Indian captain who, filled with the intent he has been talking about since arriving in South Africa, could not resist a jab. Kohli did not make any contact.

Rabada wanted Kohli to reach out again. His next delivery was full and wide but Kohli, who spoke about also leaving with intent in the lead-up to the match, took a big stride forward and watched the ball go through to Quinton de Kock. That's how you do it, evidently.

Rabada made the next ball easier for Kohli to see off, a short ball that was safely out of reach, before he wanted Kohli to reach out for a third time. As far out as a second set of stumps may have been. Kohli just watched the ball, no intent necessary.

And then Rabada wanted to trap Kohli. The fifth ball of his over angled into the stumps and Kohli played around his front pad but managed to flick the ball to deep square leg for a single.

Rabada had to wait for the next over to try again, and try he did. The first ball of his next over was so wide it may have been outside off of a third set of stumps. Kohli left. The next ball was short and Kohli swatted it away to get off strike, leaving Rohit Sharma to see off the temptation of balls outside off. Four times Rabada tried to lure Rohit into playing, and three times Rohit left.

It was the more of the same in Rabada's third over after tea. Full, outside off to Kohli, length outside off, bouncer and then the one that came back in. Kohli was surprised by the last of those. He was hit on the front pad and drew a big appeal, but had shuffled far enough outside the line not to result in a review.

The fourth over was the one Kohli told Rohit would be Rabada's last in that spell. The stump mic picked up the captain's attempts to reassure Rohit he only needed a little more persistence to see Rabada off. The quick asked the same questions outside off, again, but he got no answers, again.

But Rabada was not quite ready to rest and returned for a fifth over. After the customary three balls outside off followed by the bouncer, he got one to nip back in to Rohit, who had not moved across as much as Kohli. Rabada beat Rohit's inside edge and had him lbw.

Rabada's plan worked but it wasn't quite the wicket he wanted.

He bowled a sixth over in search of Kohli's scalp before Lungi Ngidi took over from the Hennops River End to begin the plan anew.

Same same, but different.

Ngidi didn't bother with the set-up. His first ball dipped in on Kohli, who had again walked across for the flick and appeared to be out. South Africa reviewed but UltraEdge showed faint contact. Later in the over, Ngidi just beat Kohli's outside edge, as he chased the ball away from his body.

While Rabada bowled a similar pattern in each of his overs, Ngidi relied on pace to hurry the batsmen. He produced a 151kph delivery in the next over and got a bouncer to fly past Parthiv Patel's shoulder. Had the ball not whizzed past Parthiv, it may have taken the edge as he attempted a hook. Ngidi did not have to wait long to find Parthiv's bat. In his next over, he got one to angle in and Parthiv was caught behind.

Ngidi's plan also worked but then again it wasn't quite the wicket he wanted.

South Africa spent much of the day trying to fox Kohli the same way Vernon Philander had done at Newlands - by taking him fishing and then trying to reel him in. They got the first part right but Kohli would not take the bait. He still played with the "intent," that has become his signature but was not undone by the ball that came back in.

So what do South Africa expect will change tomorrow, when they will have to go at Kohli again? The short answer is nothing. The long answer is that exactly the same thing. "We'll keep playing the patience game. We bowled it in that fifth-stump line over and over again." And so it will go on the third day.