Updated:Dec 30, 2021
India began their tour of South Africa with a comprehensive 113-run victory over the Proteas at Supersport Park, Centurion.
Virat Kohli’s side arrived at Centurion aiming to be only the third side to breach the Proteas fortress. The home side has a record of 21 wins in 24 Tests at this venue.
It was India, who won the toss and chose to bat on a greenish day two pitch. the tourist reached a competitive first innings score of 327 thanks to a magnificent 127 by the in-form K.L Rahul. this was his second century of the year and his seventh overall. Mayank Agarwal also chipped in with 60, along with a 35 and 48 from Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers for the home side with 6-71.Embed from Getty Images
In South Africa’s first innings, Shami was on fire as his 5-41 skittled the hosts out for a dismal 197.Embed from Getty Imagesfor
Bumrah, Siraj, and Thakur also chipped in at the other end.Embed from Getty Images
The Proteas ended with a dismal first innings score of 197, despite 52 from Temba Bavuma.Embed from Getty Images
With the pitch starting to misbehave, India’s second innings lasted just 50’3 overs as they managed a score of 174 with Rishabh Pant top-scoring with 34. KG Rabada was the pick of the bowlers with 4-42.Embed from Getty Images
But this was only a consolation moment as the hosts were set a daunting target of 304 to win on a wearing fourth-day pitch.
The run chase got off to a bad start when Aiden Markram took a late decision to leave a good length delivery from Shami and ended up getting a bottom edge onto his stumps.Embed from Getty Images
South Africa was 1-1 in just 1.3 overs.
Keegan Petersen looked in dent touch with his little innings of 17.Embed from Getty Images
Before he was caught behind by Pant, attempting to play an out-swinger from Sira on the leg side.Embed from Getty Images
The hosts were 34-2 in 14.1 overs.
Captain Dean Elgar and Rassie Van der Dussen seemed to have steadied the ship for the home side.Embed from Getty Images
Before the latter was done by the perfect in-swinger. Van der Dussen was on his way back for 11 with the Proteas teetering at 74-3.Embed from Getty Images
Elgar made his way to 50.Embed from Getty Images
Before Maharaj was bowled by Bumrah’s searing yorker in the last over of day four.Embed from Getty Images
The hosts finished the fourth day 93-4, needing another 211 runs to win.
Shami put down a tough chance of Elgar early on.Embed from Getty Images
Before Bumrah trapped the left-hander in front for 77 with South Africa 130-5.Embed from Getty Images
Quinton de Kock steadied the ship with a flurry of boundaries.Embed from Getty Images
Before chopping on a wide delivery from Siraj onto his stumps.Embed from Getty Images
161-6, quickly became 164-7 courtesy of a pearler from Shami, which nipped away and caught the edge of Wiaan Mulder, Pant making no mistake behind the stumps.
While the chaos was happening at one end, Bavuma looked in fine touch at the other.Embed from Getty Images
Ravichandran Aswin then put the final nails in the coffin by dismissing Rabada and Ngidi to dismiss South Africa for 191, to give India a series lead.Embed from Getty Images
This is a great start from the away side, who have yet to win a Test series on South African soil. Given the fact that they have beaten Australia in Australia and led England in England, you wouldn’t put them out of it, especially with the home side’s vulnerable ability with the bat.
The hosts, however, do not look like a proper batting line-up for Tests. Apart from Elgar, there is no one who is really capable of batting for long periods of time. They get off to decent starts but don’t cash in and make it count. If you look at India, if one or two batsmen in the top order get in, they stay in and make the bowlers earn their wickets, and the Proteas simply did not do that, particularly in the first innings. Although there were some good deliveries, some of the batsmen were caught playing slightly across the line, which is dangerous on a pitch, which offers variable bounce.
So that’s it for the first Test of the Series. India go 1-0 up, Can the Proteas bounce back in Johannesburg, or can India claim a maiden Series victory on South Africa?
Stay tuned to World in Sport to find out.