South African bowlers dominated Day 1 of the opening Test match against India at SuperSport Park on Tuesday, December 26. Before KL Rahul’s impressive unbeaten knock, Kagiso Rabada’s five-wicket haul stumbled the travelling side in Centurion.
India lost the toss and were forced to bat on Centurion’s rain-hit and pace-friendly surface. Rabada quickly adapted to the playing conditions with excellent bowling from the start. He dismissed Rohit Sharma with a pitched-up delivery and forced him to play a pull shot which found the fine leg.
Youngsters Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal also failed to impress and lost wickets to debutant Nandre Burger. India showed some resistance through Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer but both batters fell to Rabada’s clever variations with the ball.
Apart from KL Rahul’s sensational 70* off 100 balls, Indian batters had no answer against tacky playing conditions. After the match, the former captain and commentator Sunil Gavaskar highlighted the pitch’s nature and how Indian batters faced similar conditions in Johannesburg during the 2018 tour.
India were bowled out on below 250 scores in both innings but recorded a 63-run win after Ajinkya Rahane’s impressive 48-run knock in the second innings. Both Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are missing this tour after inconsistent performances throughout 2023 and are unlikely to make a return to international cricket.