SA vs IND, 1st Test Day 1 Highlights: Rain Forces Early Stumps In Centurion After KL Rahul Fifty Takes India Past 200

SA vs IND, 1st Test Day 1 Highlights: Rain Forces Early Stumps In Centurion After KL Rahul Fifty Takes India Past 200

India are chasing their first-ever Test series win on South African soil in 31 years, with Rohit Sharma at the helm of affairs.

Rohan SenUpdated: Tuesday, December 26, 2023, 10:05 PM IST
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South Africa vs India, 1st Test Day 1 Highlights:

Play has been called off for the day as rain forces early stumps in Centurion with India 208/8 in 59 overs. KL Rahul 70*, Mohammed Siraj 0*.

KL Rahul brought up his 14th Test fifty and taken India past the 200-run mark at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.

His brilliant knock has kept India in the game after they collapsed from 91 for 3 to 107 for 5 in the second session, courtesy a five-wicket haul from Kagiso Rabada.

Rahul stitched an important 7th-wicket stand with Shardul Thakur (24) and is still going strong in the middle along with the tail-enders. India should be looking to get as close to 250 as possible because batting on this pitch won't be easy even for the hosts.

Second Session Summary:

South Africa can certainly lay their claim on the second session in which they managed to pick up 4 key wickets thanks to Kagiso Rabada's fiery spell post lunch.

But India made some good progress, scoring 85 runs, despite losing 4 wickets in the session. KL Rahul (39*), Virat Kohli (38), Shreyas Iyer (31) and Shardul Thakur (24) made important contributions to take the team to 176 for 7 in 50 overs at tea. Rabada was the wrecker-in-chief for the Proteas with 5 for 41 from 15 overs.

Kagiso Rabada has completed his five-wicket haul, his 14th in Test cricket, to leave India reeling at 164 for 7 in 46.2 overs. Shardul Thakur (24) became his fifth victim as Rabada broke a solid 43-run stand for the 7th wicket. KL Rahul is still solid in the middle batting on 29*.

Kagiso Rabada is breathing fire after the lunch break. The right-arm pacer has already removed Shreyas Iyer (31), Virat Kohli (38) and Ravichandran Ashwin (8) in quick succession and is just one scalp away from his 14th five-wicket haul in Tests.

India have collapsed from 91 for 3 to 121 for 6 in 35 overs due to Rabada's first spell in the second session.

First Session Summary

Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer have steadied the ship and helped India take the first session after the visitors lost the early wickets of Rohit Sharma (5), Yashasvi Jaiswal (17) and Shubman Gill (2).

South African pacers Kagiso Rabada and debutant Nandre Burger were on fire in the first hour but Kohli and Iyer dominated the next 60 minutes to help India reach 91 for 3 in 26 overs at Lunch.

Kohli (33*) and Iyer (31*) are in the middle of a 67-run partnership for the third wicket.

There was further bad news in store for South Africa as they lost their captain to a hamstring injury in the 20th over. Bavuma limped off the field after sustaining the injury while trying to stop the ball from a Virat Kohli cover drive from reaching the boundary line.

Toss: South Africa captain Temba Bavuma wins the toss and opts to bowl first at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Team India has handed a Test debut to Prasidh Krishna while Ravindra Jadeja misses out with a back spasm.

Rohit Sharma at the Toss: "Wasn't too sure (on batting or bowling). We are quite aware of the conditions, we have been here a few times. We need to put runs on the board and the bowlers will do the job for us. We do understand the challenge of batting first with the overhead conditions and the grass, but the guys are up for the challenge. Everytime we come here, we come with high hopes. We've come close in the last 2 tours. We are pretty confident with our squad and the make-up of our squad. We are playing with four seamers and a spinner. Ashwin is playing in place of Jadeja. Jaddu had a bit of a back spasm, so Ashwin comes in and he is a quality spinner to have. Prasidh is making his debut, along with the other pacers Shardul, Siraj and Bumrah."

Groundsmen are using a hair-dryer to dry out a few damp spots on the pitch. Meanwhile, the players from both teams are warming up on the field, and the sun is out.

The toss has been delayed at the SuperSport Park in Centurion due to wet patches on the ground. There will be an inspection at around 1.30 pm IST.

Pitch Report:

Shaun Pollock and Ravi Shastri: Good covering of grass. Teams tend to bat first because it tends to start a bit slow. As the Test progresses, there might be a bit of up and down movement which could be tricky to handle. Batting will get difficult as the Test progresses. With the weather conditions, South Africa would be tempted to go without a spinner. With the sun out, the pitch tends to crack a bit more and get the spinners into play. Don't expect the pitch to change too much across the Test. The best approach is bat first, guts it out in the first two session and be happy if you're just 2 down at Lunch.

Preview

As Team India embarks on their tour, the focus is on sustaining their winning momentum and initiating the Test series on a positive note. The first match at Centurion holds the key to their aspirations.

With Rohit Sharma leading the charge, India seeks to achieve their first-ever Test series victory on South African soil in 31 years. The anticipation is high as the team looks to rewrite history under Rohit's leadership.

Return of Stalwarts

After a break post the heartbreak in the ICC World Cup final, stalwarts Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah make a comeback to the Indian team.

Their return signals a formidable lineup gearing up for Test cricket.

From World Cup Disappointment to Test Success

Rohit & Co. are determined to put aside the disappointment of the World Cup loss and transition into Test mode. The format has been a stronghold for the team, and they aim to channel their success from recent years.

This series presents an ideal opportunity for India to break their winless streak in South Africa.

The home side's comparative lack of experience opens a window for India to assert their dominance and secure a historic victory.

Captains on Redemption

Temba Bavuma and Rohit Sharma, captains facing the aftermath of their teams' traumatic World Cup exits, will step onto the field for the first time since the disappointment in India.

While winning the series won't erase the sorrow, a loss would be an additional blow neither captain deserves.

India's Test Series Record in South Africa

India's track record in Test series against South Africa includes eight played and seven lost. The closest exception was in 2010-2011 when they leveled the series after a South African win in Centurion.

The 23 Tests played in South Africa have resulted in only four victories, showcasing a winning percentage of 17.39, lower than in Australia, England, and Pakistan.

Opportunity for India to Reshape the Narrative

Despite historical challenges, the upcoming 13 days present a significant opportunity for India to challenge the narrative.

For supporters and exceptionalists alike, the series against South Africa offers a chance to put a kink in the prevailing arc and potentially alter the course of history on South African soil.

SA vs IND, Squads:

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Temba Bavuma(c), David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne(w), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keegan Petersen, Wiaan Mulder, Nandre Burger, Tristan Stubbs

Team India: Rohit Sharma(c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Srikar Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Mukesh Kumar

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