Incessant Rain washes out Day 2 play at Centurion
Brief Scores: India 272/3 (KL Rahul 122*, M Agarwal 60, L Ngidi 3/45) against South Africa at Stumps on Day Two
India, shouldering on a magnificent century of vice-captain KL Rahul, dominated the first day of the Boxing Day Test to kick off such a huge Test series against South Africa in Centurion. On the flipside of the coin, South Africa pace attack proved to have neither the bark or the bite against the tourist’s top order on a flat 22-yard. It is one of those awful starts for them to launch the summer.
Persistent Rain Spoiled the First Session of Play
As predicted before the Test, it had started to rain in Centurion from the morning which delayed the start of the second day’s play between South Africa and India. For a moment, the rain did stop for a bit and the groundsmen didn’t waste a single second to remove the covers.
Although, the drainage system at the Super Sports Park is one of the best around the world, it would have taken around half an hour at least the make the ground fit for play. Just when the umpires decided to come and inspect the conditions, the gloomy skies opened up again. The umpires, at last, decided to take early lunch and wait for the weather to get better.
It was one of those days when a viewer could take some time to appreciate the tireless job of the groundsmen. Watching the rain lighten up a bit, the groundsmen got down to taking off the covers but it started raining again and they had to put the heavy sheets back on the track again. Rinse, repeat.
From cricketing perspective, India were still at 272-3 thanks to 122* from KL Rahul, after winning the toss and electing to bat first.
Rain Has the Last Laugh as Umpires Called off Day 2
It came a bit quicker than expected. When lunch break got over, the sun for about 15 minutes did make a short appearance but sadly it wasn’t enough to dry up the ground. And then, it began to rain cats and dogs; whole Super Sports Park had been converted to a tiny lake.
After an hour of rain, thunder too made an attendance. And just around at 2 pm local time, the umpires decided that the weather wasn’t going to improve to offer us any play on the second day. Even though it wasn’t expected that soon, one could understand their decision with the amount of water on the outfield.
The backroom staff of the Proteas had to negotiate a small lake in order to collect their warm-up kits as both teams headed for their hotels.
What to Expect
The forecast for the next two days looks promising even though the last day isn’t going to be fully clean. Now, 98 overs will be bowled on each day for the rest of the game. India could look for the 400-run target batting once and probably will try to get the required 20 wickets to produce a result. Centurion is one of the grounds where the game can move rapidly. But for all of that, first, they need to bat longer and post a huge total by not committing the old mistakes.
Duanne Olivier Expected to be Fit for Second Test After Hamstring Injury
The exclusion of Duanne Olivier from this Test did catch some attention of the cricketing experts. Although on the second day, the whole issue has been explained. The highest wicket-taker in the provincial domestic competition was left out of the side even after the injury of Anrich Nortje. Some were expecting it as a punishment for Kolpak deal.
A statement on Monday from the South African team suggests that Olivier is heathy now but his positive COVID-19 test result a few weeks ago had denied him to train fully. Even after that, he picked up a hamstring issue during their two-day inter squad match. The selectors didn’t want to risk him unnecessarily when there are two more Tests to follow.
And that was why, statistically stand-out performer, Macro Jansen after impressive service against the India-A side in South Africa has earned a place in the Centurion Test.
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