India's bid to win their first-ever Test series in South Africa got a massive boost after a 113-run victory in the first Test match at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Thursday. After setting a target of 305 runs, India dismissed the Proteas for 191 runs soon after lunch. India thus became the first Asian team to win a Test at the venue (in 12 matches). This is also only the fourth Test win in South Africa in 21 attempts for India. That pretty much sums up the enormity of the win. And the stars of the match are the famed pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, and of course, KL Rahul, who laid the foundation with a classy century on Day 1. Rain played its part, leaving Day 2 without play.
In fact, there were chatters of rain at the start of the final day, but an earnest effort from India beat the natural elements too, to the final wicket with veteran Ravichandran Ashwin claiming the last two wickets. Out of nowhere, one would say, considering how the fast bowlers have dominated the match at the pace heaven. The result also means that India have breached cricket's two biggest fortresses in a calendar year. If India's win at The Gabba to seal back-to-back series wins in Australia was scripted by youngsters, this tour-opening win in Centurion is a result of years of preparations and dogged determination. And overseeing it is Rahul Dravid himself, who famously led India to their first-ever win in South Africa in 2006. For the record, South Africa had lost only twice at the venue in the previous 27 matches (to England in 2000 and Australia in 2014). The last time India played a Test in Centurion, they lost by 135 runs. Now, they end the year on a high.
Proteas, who have lost only twice at the venue, did fight but a 300-plus target is almost impossible to chase in South Africa. Only twice before a team has chased 200+ on Day 5 in South Africa for a win, by England (214 at Johannesburg) at in 1909-10 and by Australia (203 at Cape Town) in 2001-02. Captain Dean Elgar and ODI skipper Temba Bavuma looked in control, but they needed support, and this South Africa side is still looking to find replacements for the likes of Jaques Kallis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, etc. India will take a 1-0 lead when they face the Proteas in the second match at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, starting January 3 next year. Catch highlights and scores of the first SA vs IND Test match:
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Virat Kohli, India captain, hails Mohammed Shami's "world-class talent". Says, "For me, he's in the best three seamers in the world at the moment. His strong wrist, his seam position and his ability to hit a length consistently."
"It's always a difficult place to play against South Africa. The discipline that the batters showed. Winning the toss, batting first overseas is a tough challenge. Credit to Mayank [Agarwal] and KL [Rahul] for the way they set it up. We knew we were in pole position with anything over 300-320."
Dean Elgar, South Africa captain, says "it's obviously not a nice thing knowing we lost a Test here [in Centurion]. Did a few things wrong. A lot of positives coming out that we can use in the next two... Not all doom and gloom for us. We strive under the pressure which is a positive for us."
And KL Rahul is the player of the match for his 123 in 260 balls in the first innings.
IND: 327 & 174; SA - 197 & 191
And here's how the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 points table looks like:
4:21 PM IST: And India Win
Two-in-two for Ravichandran Ashwin. Lungi Ngidi is the last wicket. India win by 113 runs. 191 all out in 68 overs
4:19 PM IST: Nine Down
For a change. Spin gets a wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin removes Kagiso Rabada for a four-ball duck. Now, India need one wicket. Lungi Ngidi is the new man. South Africa need 114 runs. SA - 191/9 (67.5)
4:15 PM IST: Eight Down
And it's Mohammed Shami, again. Marco Jansen hits the first two balls for fours, streaky ones then the wicket. Shami induces a fine nick and the debutant is caught behind for 13 off 14. Third for Shami. South Africa need 115 runs. Kagio Rabada is the new man. SA - 190/8 (66.5)
4:10 PM IST: Post-lunch Session
India need three wickets. Temba Bavuma is the key wicket. Players are out for the post-lunch session. And this could be the last. Mohammed Shami to resume proceedings. Marco Jansen takes the strike. Three slips and a gully.
3:30 PM IST: Lunch
Ravichandran Ashwin with the final over before the lunch. A maiden to Temba Bavuma, who's unbeaten on 34 off 78 balls. Debutant Marco Jansen is on five off nine. South Africa need 123 runs. SA - 182/7 (66)
3:11 PM IST: Injury
Temba Bavuma gets medical attention. A Mohammed Siraj throw hit him on the left heel. SA - 164/7 (61.1)
3:04 PM IST: Shami Strikes
Mohammed Shami returns and does it again. Just a hint of movement and Wiaan Mulder is gone for 1 off 3. Caught behind. India now need three wickets. South Africa need 141 runs. SA - 164/7 (60.2)
2:58 PM IST: De Kock Does
Massive wicket. Quinton de Kock drags one and is gone for 21 off 28. 31-runs stand in 52 balls is broken. Second for Mohammed Siraj. South Africa need 144 runs. Wiaan Mulder joins Temba Bavuma in the middle. SA - 161/6 (59.3)
2:52 PM IST: Ashwin On
Mohammed Siraj on the trot. Five from the over. His figures: 1/44 in 16 overs, including four maidens. Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock rebuilding the Proteas innings. They have added 28 in 43 balls. In the previous over, Ravichandran Ashwin concedes three singles. Ashwin's figures so far: 0/9 in five overs, including a maiden. South Africa need 147 runs. SA - 158/5 (58)
2:33 PM IST: Drinks
Mohammed Siraj continues. Temba Bavuma gets a four to third man off the fifth. He is on 15 off 40. Quinton de Kock unbeaten on 3 off 6. South Africa need 167 runs. SA - 138/5 (54)
2:16 PM IST: Bumrah Strikes
Jasprit Bumrah breaks the 36-run stand. Dean Elgar is given out, LBW and he takes the review. No bat involved. Hitting leg stump. Elgar goes of 77 off 156. South Africa need 175 runs. Quinton de Kock is the new man for South Africa. India need five wickets. SA - 130/5 (50.5)
2:11 PM IST: Siraj On
First bowling change. Mohammed Siraj for Shami. Busy over. Temba Bavuma flicks the second ball to deep, and takes three. In the previous over, Dean Elgar hit Jasprit Bumrah for two fours. The fourth-wicket stand is now worth 36 in 56 balls. South Africa need 175 runs. SA - 130/4 (50)
1:54 PM IST: Dropped Catch
Not an easy one. But Mohammed Shami drops one, and that of Dean Elgar. The Proteas skipper hits back the fourth ball and Shami, on the follow-through, let it slip. Elgar then hits the last ball for a four. He is on 67 off 141. South Africa need 190 runs. SA - 115/4 (46)
1:36 PM IST: 100 Up
Mohammed Shami with the second over of the day. Dean Elgar hits the fourth ball for a four, to midwicket boundary. Earlier, Temba Bavuma blocked the one ball left in Jasprit Bumrah's over. South Africa need 204 runs. SA - 101/4 (42)
1:28 PM IST: 1st Session On
Players are out for the final day's play. Jasprit Bumrah to complete his over with the final ball of the 41st over. Temba Bavuma, the new man, takes the strike. Dean Elgar is unbeaten on 52.
1:03 PM IST: Weather Update
It's clear blue skies at Centurion now. However, the forecast indicates there might be rain later during the day.
1:00 PM IST: Hello
Hello and welcome to everyone on the final day of the 1st Test between India and South Africa.
South African captain Dean Elgar faces the ultimate challenge to bat three full sessions and deny India a win in the Centurion Test on Thursday. Elgar has seen the downfall of three top-order batsmen and a bowling all-rounder as Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 22), Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami exploited the pacy nature of the SuperSport Park pitch.
This has been a good Test match for India's young Test players. En route to his magnificent century and 23 in the Indian second innings, KL Rahul faced a record number of 334 balls, the most by any overseas Test opener at Centurion. Among all openers, only South African Herschelle Gibbs (341 balls) and AB de Villiers (334 balls) have faced more balls than KL Rahul in a Teat match at Centurion.
Alas, South Africa don't have the batsmen of the caliber of Gibbs or De Villiers. South Africa will start Day 5 at 94 for four. This Test has been a big disappointment for the home team. South Africa scored 197 in the first innings and overall, their batsmen have undone all the good work by Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada, who have taken 15 Indian wickets in this Test.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar was 52 not out at stumps on Wednesday. He has been the backbone of South Africa’s second-innings resistance after battling his way through 122 deliveries. Elgar and his teammates will have to show plenty of that application on Thursday.