India vs South Africa, 1st Test, Centurion, Dec 26 – 30 2021, India tour of South Africa
Match Result: India won by 113 runs
Player of the Match: KL Rahul
Match Report: Calm and composed celebrations of Indian players, no aggressive fist-pumping, they are now quite used to winning overseas. South Africa is still a place they haven’t won a series at, but the way they have begun looks good to rewrite the history. Their win was inevitable today. The only thing in their way was an unpredictable weather forecast, but the rain stayed away and India were always going to be tough to fight for the draw, let alone losing the match. It’s a joy to watch their pacers ramble through opposition’s batting line-up, led by the genius of Jasprit Bumrah.
The difference in the pitch was that it didn’t offer as much uneven bounce for the Indian bowlers as it had for South Africa’s yesterday. But Bumrah, Shami and Siraj were unstoppable. Shami is just getting better and better with age. He’s learning his lessons quickly. In Ishant Sharma’s absence, captain Kohli knows who he must throw the ball at in crucial times. To South Africa’s credit, they didn’t really give up on winning intent in the face of a 300-plus target. Elgar was defiant, and he had partnerships with van der Dussen as well as Bavuma to keep India waiting. But India weren’t to be denied.
Dean Elgar | SA captain: “Obviously not a nice thing knowing we lost a Test here. Did a few things wrong. Lot of positives coming out that we can use in the next two. Always the nature here. Always going to be tough because the wicket’s playing slower (first morning). Indian openers did the fundamentals right. We didn’t quite execute the lengths well. After some good chats our bowlers executed the lengths and restricted India to what we thought was a par score.
New ball is something you have to get through playing here. Can’t emphasise enough on the hard work our bowlers put in to get 20 wickets. Our batters let us down. I’d say the batting was the difference between the two sides. We’ll have a little sit-down with myself and the management to strategise. Didn’t do a lot of wrong things. Not all doom and gloom for us. We thrive under the pressure which is a positive for us.”
Virat Kohli | India captain: “Got off to the perfect start. Have to understand one day was washed out – shows how well we played. It’s always a difficult place to play against SA (Centurion). The discipline that the batters showed. 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 with anything over 300-320. Knew the bowlers will do the job. 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 more runs (Bumrah). Just the way these guys bowl together has been a hallmark of our team getting a result in difficult situations. Absolutely world class talent (Shami). For me he’s in the best three seamers in the world at the moment. His strong wrist, his seam position and his ability to hit a length consistently. Got so much confidence out of Johannesburg last time. It’s a ground we love playing at.”