India beats South Africa by 113 runs
SA vs Ind first Test
CENTURION: India’s once-in-a-generation pace unit destroyed a listless South Africa with its relentless attack to fashion an emphatic 113-run win in the first Test in Centurion on Thursday, setting the team on the path towards an elusive series-victory in the Rainbow nation.
The 2021 started with India breaching the Fortress Gabba Down Under and it couldn’t have been a better end as they have now brought down Supersport Park which has been a Proteas’ citadel for the longest time.
The target of 305 on a track with a lot of uneven bounce was always out of question for a South African unit that is low on quality and the script unfolded as per the narrative set.
The home team folded for 191 in 68 overs to give India a 1-0 lead in three-match series.
Such was the command of Indian pacers that they even took rain out of equation despite one full day being lost.
It was pity to see South Africa, that boasted of some great names of the yore, couldn’t even post 200 runs in the both the innings with skipper Dean Elgar’s 77 off 156 balls not exactly being a saving grace.
Quinton de Kock will be missing from the line-up from the next Test as he will be on paternity leave and it will certainly make it easier for India to claim their first series win in South Africa since they first toured here in 1992.
For India, the four pacers took 18 wickets between them and Ravichandran Ashwin wrapped up the South African tail just after the lunch session to complete formality.
The three men who won the match for India were, vice-captain KL Rahul for that first innings hundred that gave the team platform, supremely talented Mohammed Shami (5/44 and 3/63) who had a match-haul of eight wickets and peerless Jasprit Bumrah.
Bumrah is perhaps Indian cricket’s biggest gift, a freaky fast bowler, who can provide moments of magic as he did on fourth evening to close the match for India.
Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur were the perfect supporting cast in one of the better and comfortable overseas wins for Virat Kohli’s men.
“They bullied South Africa in their backyard and it’s not often seen,” said former South Africa pacer and broadcaster Morne Morkel.