SA vs IND: 1st Test, Day 1 Review – Determined Rahul revives India on a challenging pitch

India and South Africa kicked off their two-match Test series at SuperSport Park in Centurion. South African captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to field.

Batting first, India faced an early setback. Skipper Rohit Sharma fell for just 13 runs, courtesy of Kagiso Rabada, who dismissed him with a score of 5. Yashasvi Jaiswal, the other opener, departed contributing only 17. Shubman Gill followed suit shortly afterward, leaving India struggling at 24/3 thanks to brilliant bowling by debutant Nandre Burger.

Experienced batters Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer stabilized the innings, guiding India to 92. Despite a lifeline for both Iyer and Kohli, Rabada returned after lunch with a remarkable spell. He got Iyer with a nip backer and Kohli with a jaffa of an outswinger as they both scored 31 and 38, respectively.

R Ashwin fell victim to a difficult delivery which got big on him. India found themselves at 121/6. However, KL Rahul played a pivotal role, guiding the tail and adding 84 runs with numbers 8, 9, and 10. India ended the day at 208/8, with Rahul still going strong at a score of 70 off 105 balls with ten fours and two sixes.

In the end, the play was called off for the day, given the fading light and slight drizzle after 59 overs of intriguing Test cricket on Boxing Day.

Top Performers of the Day

KL Rahul (70 of 105)

KL Rahul, displaying his class, played a masterful knock to assist India in putting runs on the board on day one of the match, where nearly all the Indian batters appeared to be struggling. He demonstrated remarkable resilience and showcased his hitting abilities when needed, playing a crucial role in India’s overcoming adversity. Rahul scored an impressive 70 and remains not out, set to resume on day two for India.

Kagiso Rabada (5/44, 17 overs)

Before the series began, it was widely anticipated that Kagiso Rabada would pose the biggest threat to the Indian team. And on the very first day, Rabada demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the best. His brilliant bowling, characterized by pace and bounce, consistently troubled the Indian batters, culminating in a superb five-wicket haul to kick off the series on the opening day.