SA vs India, 1st Test: Visitors ride on Rahul's ton
Team India outplayed South Africa on Day 1 of the first Test at the SuperSport Park, Centurion. Opener KL Rahul slammed his seventh Test ton, powering India past 250 in the final session. He shared a century stand with his compatriot Mayank Agarwal to give India a solid start. Besides, fast bowler Lungi Ngidi was South Africa's only wicket-taker on the opening day.
How did Day 1 pan out?
India were off to a brilliant start after skipper Virat Kohli elected to bat. They were unscathed in the first session, finishing on 83/0 at lunch. In the second session, the visitors lost Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara in quick succession. Kohli looked set on 35 before Lungi Ngidi dismissed him. Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul returned unbeaten as India finished on 272/3 at stumps.
Rahul registers his seventh Test ton
KL Rahul continues his incredible run in 2021. After shining at Lord's, the Indian opener made his mark in Centurion. He started watchfully and raced to his seventh Test ton in the final session. Notably, six of his tons have come in foreign conditions. Rahul now has the second-most Test tons (5) by an Indian opener outside Asia, after Sunil Gavaskar (15).
Second Indian opener with a Test century in South Africa
Rahul is only the second Indian opener to score a Test century in South Africa (122*). Former batter Wasim Jaffer is the only other Indian opener to have attained this feat. He smashed 116 in Cape Town on the 2006/07 tour..
Third 100+ opening partnership for India in South Africa (Tests)
Rahul and Agarwal added 117 runs for the opening wicket. They have become only the third opening pair (Tests) from India to share a century stand in South Africa. Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik (153, Cape Town, 2006/07) as well as Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag (137, Centurion, 2010/11) are the other two pairs to have achieved this feat.
Here are the interesting numbers
As per Cricbuzz, this is the seventh time in 2021 when Indian openers have survived 20 or more overs (Tests) outside Asia. There was no such instance in the previous decade (2011-20). This is only the second instance (in 52 Test innings) of a visiting opening pair registering a century partnership in Centurion. South Africa have won 21 of the last 26 Tests here.
Lungi Ngidi took three wickets
Lungi Ngidi was the only South African bowler to have produced breakthroughs on Day 1. He dismissed Agarwal and Pujara on two consecutive deliveries in the second session. In the final session, he got rid of Indian skipper Kohli. Although Kagiso Rabada returned wicketless, he kept the Indians at bay. Debutant Marco Jansen was expensive. The left-arm seamer conceded 61 runs.
A look at the other talking points
Kohli has now played 52 international innings without scoring a hundred. Once again, he couldn't maximize his sturdy start and departed on 35. His compatriot Rahane, who was stripped of vice-captaincy earlier this year, has fared well so far. He returned unbeaten (40) along with Rahul. Rahane is in pursuit of his 13th Test hundred. His last hundred came at the MCG.