SA vs Ind first Test | Cricket

Bowlers lead assault as India breaches the SuperSport bastion

Team India players celebrate after defeating South Africa on day 5 of the first Test against South Africa in Centurion on December 30, 2021.

Team India players celebrate after defeating South Africa on day 5 of the first Test against South Africa in Centurion on December 30, 2021.

Test matches are won and lost in moments like these: see a chink, exploit it!

A battling Dean Elgar, defending solidly for most part, moved across and turned a Jasprit Bumrah delivery on off-stump past the square-leg ropes. The shot also provided the Indians the opening they needed for a breakthrough.

The trap

The trap was laid. The Indian changed the angle. Bumrah, bowling round the wicket, released from closer to the stumps to Elgar. And he struck gold!

Elgar (77) shuffled across, attempting to work the ball, and was trapped leg-before. This was the pivotal moment of the final day.

Rain stayed away on Thursday and India, defending 305 under sunshine, dismissed South Africa for 191 soon after lunch to win the first Freedom Test by 113 runs for a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series. This was India’s first win at this venue.

The cricket caravan will move to the Wanderers for the second Test, beginning January 3.

K.L. Rahul was adjudged Player-of-the-Match for his first innings 123, the difference between the two sides in reality.

After breaching the South African bastion at the SuperSport Park, the Indians are well on course for a maiden Test series triumph in South Africa.

The Indian pace attack hunted like a pack of wolves. Relentless, clever and always dangerous.

The three — Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj — have the uncanny knack of conjuring up wicket-taking deliveries out of nowhere.

This also means the opposition batters are never really ‘in’, as the ball moves away, nips back or holds its line.

In the morning, Elgar, all focus and determination, and Temba Bavuma, appeared confident.

There was an opportunity for India but Shami spilled a tough caught-and-bowled chance when Elgar (on 63) could not keep a drive off a full-length delivery down.

There was nothing alarming in the pitch on day five. If anything the surface appeared to have settled down but for the odd delivery deviating off the crack.

However, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals. Quintion de Kock once again promised much with a couple of rousing on-drives off Bumrah.

However, the left-hander played-on attempting to cut a Siraj ball, delivered from round the wicket, and holding its line outside off. The impulsive de Kock is often his worst enemy.

Bavuma stands tall

Even as wickets fell around him, Bavuma (35 not out), putting mind over matter, kept the challenge alive.

He was compact with his defence and timed the ball sweetly. Bumrah was cover-driven majestically and Ashwin was off-driven to the fence with footwork.

In the end, the South Africa vice-captain was left high and dry even as Kohli made all the right moves.

Kohli brought back Shami from the Press Box end and the skilful paceman, his seam position upright, made further inroads.

All-rounder Wiann Mulder got a nick to a lovely good-length delivery from Shami that straightened outside off. With South Africa 164 for seven, India was now looking at the tail.

Cleaning up

Soon after lunch, Shami moved one away off the seam to find Marco Jansen’s edge.

Ashwin’s flight and dip accounted for Kagiso Rabada and moments later Lungi Ngidi was picked up by the close cordon.

India had won! The celebrations reflected the joy of an away win. A first Test series triumph on South African soil is still some distance away though.

Scoreboard

India 1st innings: 327

South Africa first innings: 197

India second innings: 174

South Africa 2nd innings: Aiden Markram b Mohammed Shami 1 Dean Elgar lbw b Bumrah 77 Keegan Petersen c Pant b Mohammed Siraj 17 Rassie van der Dussen b Bumrah 11 Keshav Maharaj b Bumrah 8 Temba Bavuma not out 35 Quinton de Kock b Mohammed Siraj 21 Wiaan Mulder c Pant b Mohammed Shami 1 Marco Jansen c Pant b Mohammed Shami 13 Kagiso Rabada c Mohammed Shami b Ashwin 0 Lungi Ngidi c Pujara b Ashwin 0. Extras: (LB-2, NB-5) 7

Total: (All out in 68 overs) 191

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-34, 3-74, 4-94, 5-130, 6-161, 7-164, 8-190, 9-191, 10-191

Indian bowling: Jasprit Bumrah 19-4-50-3, Mohammed Shami 17-3-63-3, Mohammed Siraj 18-5-47-2, Shardul Thakur 5-0-11-0, Ravichandran Ashwin 9-2-18-2.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 8:28:55 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/south-africa-vs-india-first-boxing-day-test-in-centurion-day-5/article38070537.ece