Published on: Dec 27, 2023
Experienced South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada picked up 5/44 in 17 overs as South Africa held India to 208/8 in 59 overs by stumps on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday, December 26. On a shortened day due to weather, South Africa won the toss and bowled first. Their pacers took full advantage of the conditions to reduce India to 24/3. A defiant knock by KL Rahul (70 not out off 105) ensured India crossed the 200-run mark by stumps.
India lost their top three by the start of the 12th over. Captain Rohit Sharma (5) hooked a rising delivery from Rabada straight to long leg. Left-handed Yashasvi Jaiswal (17) then edged a drive to give Nandre Burger his first Test victim. Burger had two when Shubman Gill (2) gloved a delivery down the leg side. South Africa smartly took the DRS to get the decision in their favor.
The visitors could have been five down in the first session had Marco Jansen and Tony de Zorzi held on to reasonably simple chances offered by Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli respectively. Having got early reprieves, the Indian duo batted with resolve to add 68 runs for the fourth wicket.
Just when India seemed to be making a fightback, Rabada’s twin blows put them on the back foot again. Shreyas (31) with cleaned up by one that jagged back in and kept a little low as well. Kohli (38) then lost the battle with Rabada. He was forced to play at one that angle in at off and nipped away and only managed to get an edge that settled in the hands of the Proteas keeper.
Ravichandran Ashwin (8) was the next to go, edging one from Rabada that climbed from a length at awkward height. Rahul and the feisty Shardul Thakur (24) featured in a 43-run stand for the seventh wicket to give the Indian innings some momentum.
Thakur’s stay ended when he drove a length delivery from Rabada to short mid-off. With the wicket, the South African pacer completed a five-wicket haul. Rahul hit a four and a six off Burger to bring up his fifty. He hit a few more crucial fours to guide India past 200 runs when weather forced early stumps.
–By A Cricket Correspondent