On the back of India’s victory at Centurion, Virat Kohli heaped praise on the ream for their dominant performance. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli had this to say:

“We got off to the perfect start we wanted to. Getting the result in four days shows how well we played. It’s always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball and in the field.

On what pleased him most about the victory:

“Winning the toss, batting first overseas is a tough challenge. Credit to Mayank and KL the way they set it up. We knew we were in pole position. We knew that anything over 300-320 would be a top total which ended up being the case.

Knew the bowlers will do the job as we have bowled teams out in the past. We just need runs on the board and that’s exactly what was provided by these guys. Huge credit to them to them for where Indian Test cricket is over the last 4-5 years.”

 

Kohli

 

On Bumrah’s injury scare in the first innings:

“We spoke about it in the change room – the fact he didn’t bowl much in the first innings, it allowed SA to get around 40-50 extra runs which took the game as close as it did in the end.

Having to face a guy like him is difficult for any batting lineup in cricket. Just the way these guys bowl together has been a hallmark of our team getting a result in difficult situations.

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On Shami’s performance:

“He’s an absolutely world class talent. For me he’s in the best three seamers in the world at the moment. Just the way he bowls on pitches which don’t seem to offer too much.

His strong wrist and seam position allows him to get extra bounce. His ability to hit the good lengths is his biggest quality. Very happy for him to get 200 wickets and it was an impactful performance.”

When asked about their next assignment at the Wanderer’s:

“It was a big milestone for us as a side (their win in 2018). We showed heart and determination despite being down in the series. It gave us so much confidence to play the cricket we have played overseas. It’s a ground we love playing at and we are looking forward to it.”

 

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Match Review:

Day 1:

After winning the toss and batting first, India motored along to 272/3 at stumps on Day 1. Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul showed their chemistry, putting on 117 for the first wicket. It was India’s third hundred run opening partnership of the year and first between the pair. Agarwal looked assured at the crease before falling LBW to a dodgy decision against Lungi Ngidi for 60. Pujara fell next ball for a golden duck but Rahul and skipper Kohli steered India back into calm waters.

Just when Kohli was looking set for a big score, he too fell to Ngidi. Rahul and Rahane stitched together a crucial partnership and saw the team through to Stumps without any further damage. On the way, Rahul brought up his seventh Test hundred. The innings was full of pleasing strokes and set the foundation for a big first innings total. It also earned him the Man of the Match award.

 

Rahul's good innings

 

Day 3:

With Day 2 being washed out completely, the test needed to move at a rapid pace to enforce a result. That was helped along by India’s collapse, with the middle and lower order crumbling to 327 all out. Ajinkya Rahane looked fluent for his 48 but a poor shot brought about his dismissal. Six of the wickets fell to Ngidi, while 3 fell to Rabada. The latter in particular seemed to have found his rythm after seeming off-color on Day 1.

South Africa’s innings failed to flatter, folding for 197 in 62.3 overs. The only meaningful contribution came from Bavuma, who racked up his 16th Test fifty. It could have been much worse for them if not for useful contributions by de Kock, Rabada and debutant Marco Jansen. Mohammad Shami was the pick of the bowlers for his 5/44. He made the ball talk and showcased an excellent display of seam bowling. In the process, he became the fastest Indian to 200 wickets (In terms of balls bowled). Bumrah rolled his ankle in the field and was able to send down only 7.2 overs. In total, Day 3 saw 18 wickets with India losing Agarwal five minutes before stumps.

 

Ngidi first Test

 

Day 4:

India continued to stretch their lead but regular wickets from South Africa kept the match in the balance. Rahul, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane all got starts but no one passed 35. At lunch India were 79/3, well set to take their lead beyond 350. However, another extravagant cover drive saw Kohli nick off first ball after lunch and Pujara followed soon after, strangled down the leg side.

What is even more concerning is the shot selection of their senior batsmen. Kohli in particular, seems to have lost concentration when the ball is outside off-stump. A cameo from Pant aided by some blows towards the end from Ashwin meant that India finished with 174 with Jansen claiming four. Chasing a target of 304 was never going to be easy for South Africa and if successful, it would have been the highest successful chase at the venue. However, they did themselves no favors, losing Markram for 1 and Petersen for 17. We have the best cricket betting tips here in our website. Read more here.

Van der Dussen and captain Elgar put on a stubborn 40 run partnership for the third wicket but Dussen was cleaned up by a beauty from Bumrah with less than 5 overs to go till Stumps. Bumrah struck again in the last over of the day, removing night-watchman Maharaj to leave SA 94/4.

 

First Test Kohli's men

 

Day 5:

India needed 6 wickets to win and South Africa needed 211 runs. With a partnership growing between Bavuma and Elgar, the match was set up for an interesting finish. Looking for the breakthrough, Kohli called on Bumrah and he delivered, trapping Elgar LBW for 77. It was a gritty knock and a lesson on how to bat on a pitch that had started to offer uneven bounce.

After that, it didn’t take long for India to finish the game. de Kock’s wicket by Siraj was probably the last nail in the coffin as Bavuma ran out of partners to support him. The only thing that could have saved South Africa were the predicted thunderstorms, but they kept away long enough for India to bowl the hosts out. Shortly after Lunch, Ashwin picked up two in two to give India victory by 113 runs.

 

Test, Rahul, shami, rahane

 

With that performance, India have become the first Asian team to win a test match at Centurion. Kohli’s men will now be looking to seal the 3-match series which would be their first in South Africa. The hosts will have to go back to the drawing board and address their shortcomings, especially with the bat. Fast Bowler Duanne Olivier is expected to make a comeback after nearly 3 years but de Kock’s sudden retirement means that they will have to find another keeper-batsman. The second Test starts on the 3rd of January. It will be played at Johannesburg, where Bumrah’s and Shami’s five-fors led India to a famous win in 2018. Both teams will be looking to start 2022 on a positive note with a win. Do check our betway betting app review here.

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