India clinch a historic Test win over South Africa at the Centurion
India’s tour of South Africa finally got underway after being postponed. Both teams came into it hampered by injury with India missing vice-captain Rohit Sharma and the Proteas without the services of the electric Anrich Nortje.
Virat Kohli chose the right side of the coin at the toss and chose to bat first. Rahul and Mayank opened the innings for India. Let’s take you through the highlights of the first test from Centurion.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal dominate the Proteas bowlers
The South African bowlers toiled hard bowling long spells in the 1st session but Rahul and Mayank were up to the task and negotiated them brilliantly. There’s an argument to be made that the bowlers started off bowling too short and allowed our openers to get their eye in but regardless, the boys grinded out the good balls and waited for the loose ones to put away exactly like coach Rahul Dravid would want them to in Test matches. Mayank continued his form from the Wankhede test against the Kiwis to notch up another half century and Rahul was soon to follow. This was India’s first 50 partnership in South Africa for 11 years and they made it count extending it to a 100.
Double Ngidi strike swings the momentum South Africa’s way
It looked like India were in cruise control but Lungi Ngidi had other plans. He trapped Mayank in front of the stumps, and Pujara caught at backward short-leg with successive fiery in-swingers. Rahul and Virat undertook a rebuilding job for the rest of the 2nd session and absorbed the pressure from the Protean bowlers who had their tails up.
Rahul’s Century in Centurion put India in the driving seat
Virat Kohli fell to Ngidi early in the 3rd session after steering his ship out of troubled waters. They put on an important 82 runs together. KL Rahul kept his head after his captain’s departure, going from strength to strength, and making his way to a suave century. Rahane joined him in the middle and looked in good touch. He got off the mark with a boundary and continued scoring at a brisk pace. The pair successfully closed the day out without losing another wicket.
India are in a commanding position thanks to some fabulous batting performances. Let’s hope they can kick on and put up a mountain of runs on the board before handing it to the bowling unit.
Day 2 of the Centurion Test was washed out due to heavy rain throughout the day. We bring you highlights from Day 3.
Ngidi, Rabada trigger Indian collapse
The pitch on Day 3 was much livelier after being under covers for all of Day 2. Ngidi and Rabada made the most of it using the new ball to full effect. India were able to add a mere 55 runs to their score at the end of Day 1 as the Protean quicks finally found their length.
Indian pace battery run through South African top-order
Bumrah and Shami returned from their much-needed break for this tour of South Africa and hit the ground running. Bumrah struck in the first over of the innings and Shami joined in soon after. Things got worse for the Proteas in the 2nd session with Siraj chipping in with a wicket as well. Unfortunately, Bumrah then picked up an injury and was forced off the field which somewhat stalled India’s momentum.
Bavuma and de Kock begin the resistance
Bavuma and de Kock stitched an important 72-run partnership to take the sting out of India’s attack temporarily. The latter was dropped on his first ball by KL Rahul in the slips and rode his luck to an important 34 in the circumstances. Bavuma played some beautiful drives scoring at a quick rate.
However, that was short-lived as Shardul came into the attack and got de Kock just before Tea. Things got worse after Tea with Mulder and Bavuma falling to Shami. But the resistance wasn’t over just yet. Jansen and Rabada stitched together another vital 37-run partnership. Yet again, Shardul came in to get the breakthrough. After that, Shami and a resurgent Bumrah were quick to clean up the tail with the Proteas 130 short of our score.
Mayank falls early in the 2nd innings
After bowling out the Proteas, the openers were looking to close out the day’s play without losing a wicket. Marco Jansen bowled the last over of the day to snick off Mayank to the keeper with an absolute peach of a delivery. Focus will now be on India's under fire middle order to post a big total and keep the visitors in the driving seat.
Shami's five-wicket showing saw India move ahead on an 18-wicket third day at SuperSport Park. After earning a 130-run first-innings lead, India looked to build on it further and shut down South Africa. Nightwatchman Thakur and first-innings centurion Rahul were set to resume proceedings on Day 4. Here is how the day went:
South Africa strike hard & early
Nightwatchman Thakur was in two minds interms of his approach and his stay was cut short by Rabada. Pujara looked in good nick coming in, punishing a loose one for a boundary to get off the mark. He survived a scare at mid-wicket with Rabada dropping a simple one off Ngidi, which didn't help South Africa's plans to hurt India early on. Rahul continued to show appropriate judgement outside off from the start, leaving by & hiding his bat inside the line at times. He then uncharacteristically chased a wide one from Ngidi after drinks and was caught behind to Elgar at first slip for 23 off 74 balls. Kohli then joined Pujara in the middle, looking to keep the scoreboard ticking.
India lost Thakur and Rahul but managed to push their lead beyond 200. The Centurion track was offering some uneven bounce and seam movement to keep the quicks interested.
Jansen comes into his own
Kohli went for a cover-drive once again, but the full delivery from Jansen left him with the angle & finished wider than he anticipated. His frustration was clear to see as he walked off for 18 after edging it. Now it was the on the middle order veterans, Rahane & Pujara to steady the ship at 79-4.
Pujara chased one down leg and was caught behind, Rahane hit a few crisp boundaries but fell short whilst attempting a pull shot off Jansen, hitting it straight to van der Dussen at deep square leg. Pujara & Rahane falling in the 38th & 39th over respectively brought South Africa right back in it.
Pant & Ashwin joined forces to increase the scoring rate and started off with loads of positive intent. Adding 35 for the 7th wicket with Pant, Ashwin fell victim to one of Rabada's extra bounce deliveries, getting caught behind off his gloves. Pant was the standout player for India, adding a run-a-ball 34. His intentions were clear from ball one and helped India accelerate the score. He had to depart after misjudging the bounce and was caught out, playing a half-hearted shot.
After Pant's power-packed cameo, South Africa cleaned up the tale quickly with Shami lasting for 12 deliveries. Jansen then cleaned up Siraj to dismiss India for 174.
Jansen & Rabada ended the innings with 4 wickets each and India set a target of 305 for the South Africans to chase.
In the fourth innings, Markram chopped one on to his stumps off Shami in the second over and India were looking likely to strike again. Elgar and Petersen negotiated the new ball well and took their team to 22/1. The Centurion pitch continued to play it's tricks and India's quicks were hitting the right areas.
Resolute Elgar shows the way but Bumrah comes into his own
Siraj struck early post Tea, bowling an outswinger which squared up Petersen and got his outside edge. India's seamers threw everything at Elgar, who survived multiple bursts and stitched a gritty stand with van der Dussen, adding 40 for the 3rd wicket.
The partnership was ended thanks to a peach from Bumrah. He nipped one back in from outside off, getting movement in the air and off the pitch, hitting the top of off and making van der Dussen's leave look silly.
Bumrah ended the day with a bang, bowling out Maharaj with a rocket of an in-swinging yorker. Protea skipper Dean Elgar will be looking to stand his ground with a partner at the other end as India need 6 wickets on Day 5 to register a win and go 1-0 up in the series.
Becoming the first Asian team to register a Test win at the Centurion - considered to be South Africa's mightiest fortress, Team India have scripted history. Starting the year with a win at the Gabba and now ending it with a 113-run win against South Africa in South Africa, India have once again proved their mettle in whites.
Needing just six wickets to wrap up the game on Day 5, here is how it went:
Clear intentions from the word go
After a solid bowling performance on Day 4, India did one better on Day 5 with their collective performance to secure a win at The Centurion. Disciplined lines and near perfect lengths were on display from the entire unit, which eventually wore down South Africa's resistance at the start.
Bumrah started the damage by getting Elgar LBW with some inward movement off the pitch. Siraj - the live-wire, kept asking questions and the time came for him to bear his fruit when De Kock chopped one onto his stumps from outside off. Shami's seam positions being as straight forward as India's intentions on Day 5, did the trick getting Mulder's outside edge and having South Africa 7 down before Lunch.
Ashwin wraps it up in style
India needed only 3 wickets from the two sessions left in the day. Shami struck soon by baiting Jansen to play at a straight one and the faint edge caught behind by Pant. Ashwin then joined the party with two left to take and cleaned up both Rabada & Ngidi in the 68th over, rounding off a historic first-ever win at The Centurion.
India will now go into the New Year with their heads held high and will be back in action from January 3 for the second Test at the Wanderers.