SA vs IND first Test | Burger & Co. dash India’s ‘final frontier’ dream, inflict innings defeat

The South African left-arm quick triggers the collapse even as Kohli plays a lone hand with a defiant 76; the visitors surrender abjectly to be shot out for 131 in the second innings after conceding a lead of 163 in the first

December 28, 2023 04:39 pm | Updated December 29, 2023 03:52 pm IST - Centurion

South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada being congratulated by Virat Kohli on day 3 of the first Test against India in Centurion on December 28, 2023.

South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada being congratulated by Virat Kohli on day 3 of the first Test against India in Centurion on December 28, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

From the scenic SuperSport Park, you could clearly see the high-speed trains blazing away on the elevated track. India’s disintegration on Thursday matched the speed of those small trains.

The hopes of making history in this country for Rohit Sharma’s men were crushed, as South Africa won the first Test by an innings and 32 runs, with more than two days to spare. Even a victory in the second Test would only help them equalise in the short series.

India’s second innings lasted just 34.1 overs. Earlier, riding on a magnificent innings by Dean Elgar (185, 287b, 28x4), South Africa made 408 in its first innings — and that was without the services of captain Temba Bavuma who left the field in the opening session of the match with a hamstring strain — to take a lead of 163.

It was always going to be a steep climb after that. But not many could have anticipated India’s fall would be so sudden, or so big.

India could offer little resistance against the pace ace Kagiso Rabada and his three junior colleagues. The spoils were shared by the master and the pupils.

The Indian batters, however, succeeded in ensuring that the South African bowlers would not get all the wickets: Jasprit Bumrah was run out while searching for a non-existent second.

Virat Kohli (76, 82b, 12x4, 1x6 ) was at the other end. And this was a spectacular collapse that even he could not do anything about.

India’s second innings had begun on a sour note. Rabada proved Rohit’s nemesis yet again: a beauty that angled in and beat the Indian captain all ends up before disturbing his stumps.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is getting some serious lessons in Test match cricket after his successful debut in the West Indies earlier in the year, was also the victim of a vicious ball, served by the debutant left-am quick Nandre Burger. The opener could not take his gloves off against a ball that rose steeply.

Burger is proving a sumptuous addition to the great tradition of South African pace bowling. He also took one of the most prized Indian wickets — K.L. Rahul. The first-innings centurion could only make four before Burger induced an outside edge. When Rahul was dismissed, half the side had returned to the dressing room.

India’s scorecard indeed made for miserable reading. Apart from Kohli, only Shubman Gill could reach double figures. His innings of 26 had looked promising before he was cleaned up by Marco Jansen who seems to have taken his batting form from earlier in the day to his bowling.

He had made a career-best 84 not out (147b, 11x4, 1x6) and his 111-run partnership with Elgar would prove so vital. They had resumed at the overnight score of 256 for five and continued to frustrate the Indian bowlers, among whom Bumrah stood out. Playing his first Test match in about a year and a half, he bowled exceedingly well to take four for 69.

He, however, would soon be outshone by South Africa’s bowlers.


INDIA — 1ST INNINGS: 245 in 67.4 overs.

SOUTH AFRICA — 1ST INNINGS: Aiden Markram c Rahul b Siraj 5 (17b, 1x4), Dean Elgar c Rahul b Shardul 185 (287b, 28x4), Tony de Zorzi c Jaiswal b Bumrah 28 (62b, 5x4), Keegan Petersen b Bumrah 2 (7b), David Bedingham b Siraj 56 (87b, 7x4, 2x6), Kyle Verreynne c Rahul b Prasidh 4 (7b, 1x4), Marco Jansen (not out) 84 (147b, 11x4, 1x6), Gerald Coetzee c Siraj b Ashwin 19 (18b, 2x4, 1x6), Kagiso Rabada b Bumrah 1 (9b), Nandre Burger b Bumrah 0 (20b), Temba Bavuma (absent hurt); Extras (lb-13, w-2, nb-9): 24

Total (in 108.4 overs): 408.

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-11 (Markram, 3.5 overs), 2-104 (de Zorzi, 28.6), 3-113 (Petersen, 30.2), 4-244 (Bedingham, 60.1), 5-249 (Verreynne, 61.5), 6-360 (Elgar, 94.5), 7-391 (Coetzee, 99.1), 8-392 (Rabada, 100.5), 9-408 (Burger, 108.4).

INDIA BOWLING: Bumrah 26.4-5-69-4, Siraj 24-1-91-2, Shardul 19-2-101-1, Prasidh 20-2-93-1, Ashwin 19-6-41-1.

INDIA — 2ND INNINGS: Yashasvi Jaiswal c Verreynne b Burger 5 (18b, 1x4), Rohit Sharma b Rabada 0 (8b), Shubman Gill b Jansen 26 (37b, 6x4), Virat Kohli c Rabada b Jansen 76 (82b, 12x4, 1x6), Shreyas Iyer b Jansen 6 (12b, 1x4), K.L. Rahul c Markram b Burger 4 (24b, 1x4), R. Ashwin c Bedingham b Burger 0 (1b), Shardul Thakur c Bedingham b Rabada 2 (8b), Jasprit Bumrah run out 0 (5b), Mohammed Siraj c Verreynne b Burger 4 (5b, 1x4), Prasidh Krishna (not out) 0 (5b); Extras (lb-2, w-6): 8

Total (in 34.1 overs): 131.

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-5 (Rohit, 2.5), 2-13 (Jaiswal, 5.3), 3-52 (Gill, 13.6), 4-72 (Shreyas, 17.5), 5-96 (Rahul, 25.5), 6-96 (Ashwin, 25.6), 7-105 (Shardul, 28.3), 8-113 (Bumrah, 30.2), 9-121 (Siraj, 31.5).

SOUTH AFRICA BOWLING: Rabada 12-3-32-2, Burger 10-3-33-4, Jansen 7.1-1-36-3, Coetzee 5-0-28-0.

Player-of-the-Match: Elgar.

South Africa won by an innings and 32 runs to lead two-match series 1-0.

Second Test: January 3-7, Cape Town.

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