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SA vs IND, 1st Test, Day 1: Rabada's 5-44 breaks India's back; Rahul's 70* takes visitors to 208-8

South Africa vs India, 1st Test, Day 1: Kagiso Rabada's 5-44 and KL Rahul's 70* are the top performances of the day. India are 208-8 on the stumps Day 1.

South Africa vs India, Centurion Test, Day 1: KL Rahul remains not out on 70 runs on Day 1 | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Rahul remains not out on 70 on Day 1 of South Africa vs India Test (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)

Brief Scores: IND 208/8 (KL Rahul 70*, Virat Kohli 38, Kagiso Rabada 5/44) at end of Day 1

Kagiso Rabada produced a fast-bowling masterclass on Day 1 of the Test series before rain, and KL Rahul’s inspired resistance took India’s total to 208/8. 

The 2-match test series between South Africa and India is billed as the final frontier for the visitors as it remains the only place where they have yet to register a series win. 2021 presented a great opportunity, but South Africa returned to win the last 2 Tests after being down 1-0.

Again, in 2023, India has yet another opportunity to create history as they take on South Africa in the 1st Test of the series on Boxing Day at Supersport Park, Centurion. 

South Africa skipper Tenba Bavuma won the toss and expectedly opted to bowl first on a pitch promising seam movement, pace, and bounce to the fast bowlers. With Lungi Ngidi missing, SA gave Test debut to pacer Nandre Burger. India, too, had a debutant in the form of Prasidh Krishna, and KL Rahul took over as a test keeper for the first time.

Talking Point from South Africa vs India, Day 1

India faced yet another batting collapse on the first day morning, with youngsters Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal falling relatively early in the piece. With the batting conditions not going to get easy by any means, India will hope the duo gives a good application of themselves in the 2nd innings. 

South Africa vs India, Centurion Test, Day 1_  Kagiso Rabada gets Virat Kohli out on Day 1 _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Kagiso Rabada gets Virat Kohli out on Day 1 (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)

South African pacers begin well in the 1st Session

After opting to bowl on friendly overhead conditions, South African pacers began on the right note, bowling in tight lines. They set up India's openers well and got rewarded in the 5th over when Kagiso Rabada removed skipper Rohit Sharma for 5. Jaiswal, who was looking solid, suffered a lapse in concentration when, on 17, he departed to the debutant Nandre Burger. The left-arm pacer got his 2nd in his next over in the form of Shubman Gill.

This way, the first hour of the Test went in the Protea's favor, but the Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer showed application as the conditions eased out a bit. The duo added 67 runs in the session, ensuring South African pacers don’t create further inroads.

KL Rahul fights hard, but Rabada’s spell puts South Africa in control in the post-lunch session 

SA’s premier pacer, Kagiso Rabada, produced a dream upon resumption of play after the lunch break. He first crashed through the gate of Shreyas Iyer, who was batting well on 31 and then bowled a dream delivery to see the back of dangerous Virat Kohli (38). With this, India lost their set batsmen in a few overs, and Ashwin departed to the same bowler soon after. 

Team India was reduced to 121/6 and precariously positioned to be bowled out cheaply. But India’s newest Test keeper, KL Rahul, forged a counter-attacking 7th wicket stand of 43 with Shardul Thakur. The pair shrugged off Rabada’s blistering spell and took India past the 150-run mark in the session. Thakur lost his wicket to Rabada against the run of play towards the end of 2nd session as India went into Tea on Day 2 at 176/7.

Rain halts play in the 3rd session after Rahul’s gritty show 

With not much batting left in the India ranks, the onus fell on KL Rahul to add as many runs as possible in the final play session. The stylish batter did just that as he moved from 39 to 70 in a matter of 35 balls while also taking India past the 200-run mark. When the ever-threatening rain finally arrived and interrupted play, India’s score read 208/8, with Rahul batting on 70 and Mohammad Siraj giving him the company. This, unfortunately, marked the end of the day’s play.

What to expect on Day 2

India hopes the remaining 2 wickets will add as many runs as possible on Day 2 and give their strong bowling attack something to bowl at. South Africa will look to wrap up India’s innings and do well with the bat.

Statistical highlights from the India vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 1
  • Kagiso Rabada completes his 500th international wicket with the scalp of Shardul Thakur, the youngest SA pacer to reach the feat.

  • That was his 14th five-wicket haul in Test cricket, becoming 4th most among SA pacers.

  • Virat Kohli was dismissed for the fourth time in Test cricket by Kagiso Rabada. He has scored 215 runs against the pacer in the red-ball format. 

  • KL Rahul brought up his third 50+ Test score against South Africa in South Africa, one of them being a century (123 at the same venue in 2018).

  • Yashasvi Jaiswal became the first victim of Nandre Burger in Test cricket.

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