Even as his teammates were struggling against South African seam bowlers on a relatively placid Centurion wicket on Day 2 of the ongoing second Test, Virat Kohli looked a class apart.
Coming in at 28 for 2 in India's reply to South Africa's first innings total of 335, Kohli took the attack to the opposition. He mixed caution with aggression and remained unbeaten on 85 at Stumps on Sunday, January 14.
How Kohli helped Pandya tackle SA pacers
After witnessing his partners struggle against the pace and seam the South African bowlers were able to extract from the Centurion track, Kohli decided to help number seven batsman Hardik Pandya tackle the hosts' bowling.
Kohli, according to Cricbuzz, was spotted letting Pandya know which way the ball would move from the non-striker's end.
If the Indian captain had spotted the bowler holding the shiny side of the ball away from the batsman, he held the bat on his left hand to signal an away-going delivery. The bat was on Kohli's right hand if he had spotted the shiny side facing the batsman.
Pandya benefitted from the hints and was looking comfortable against the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi towards the end of Day 2.
In the 58th over of the innings, Ngidi was setting up Pandya with a few away-going deliveries and then brought one back into the batsman. However ,the Baroda all-rounder was ready for it and punched the incoming delivery straight down the ground.
During the penultimate over of the day, Kohli was heard on the stump mic helping out his batting partner Pandya by offering insights about Philander's bowling.
Here's the conversation
"Yahan pe change kiya [He changed it here]," Kohli told Hardik.
"Andar ke liye leke hi bhaagaa tha [He ran in with the one that would originally come in]," Hardik quipped after which Kohli said: "Jo leke niklega agar change karega toh uska opposite hai [The side of the ball he runs in with, if he changes, it will go the opposite way]."
"Main bataaun aapko? [Should I tell you on spotting?]," Hardik questioned.
"Nahin nahin, mujhe dikha, main bataa raha hun.. [No, no.. I picked it, I am just telling you]," Kohli replied.
Eventually, the two batsmen remained unbeaten at Stumps on Day 2.
However, Pandya was run-out on 15 (45 balls) on the morning session on Monday following a lethargic attempt to get back to the crease after Kohli denied a single. Notably, the Indian captain had just reached his 21st Test century when the all-rounder committed the "unforgivable error".
How Tendulkar helped Dravid with similiar tactic
Notably, Sachin Tendulkar had employed this tactic long before during a match in Mohali against New Zealand in 2003. The batting legend had used his bat to help out his partner Rahul Dravid against former pacer Chris Cairns.
"I was batting with Rahul Dravid. The ball was reverse swinging and Cairns was beating us two-three times. We were sort of clueless because we couldn't see the shine," Tendulkar had said.
He added: "I told Rahul 'I have an idea'. I said 'I am closer to the bowler and when he is walking back to the run up I would be watching him closely and the ball.
"Whichever side is shiny, I will hold the bat in that hand. If he is going to bowl an out-swinger the bat will be in my left hand. If he is going to bowl an in-swinger, the bat is in my right hand at the non-striker's end."