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Centurion Test: South Africa shatter India's dreams to conquer the final frontier
Centurion Test
Photo courtesy: X/@ICC

Centurion Test: South Africa shatter India's dreams to conquer the final frontier

| @indiablooms | 28 Dec 2023, 11:03 pm

Centurion/UNI: South Africa shattered the dreams of India to conquer the final frontier after they defeated the visitors by innings and 32 runs, within three days of the first Test at SuperSport Park here on Thursday.

India could score only 131 all out in 34.1 overs in their second innings after folding their first innings at 245.

In reply, South Africa posted an imposing total of 408/9, taking a stupendous lead of 163 run-lead in the context of the nature of the wicket.

With this win, the Proteas took a 1-0 lead over India in the two-match Test series in the Rainbow Nation. They also pipped India and slid them down to the fifth position in the updated World Test Championship (2023-25) points table, whereas the hosts climbed to the No. 1 spot.

To reclaim the top rankings, India need to square off the series by winning the second and final Test at Cape Town.

Photo courtesy: X/@ICCPhoto courtesy: X/@ICC

India captain Rohit Sharma had a raw deal for the past few weeks as India lost the ODI World Cup by losing to Australia in the finals played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

He also lost Mumbai Indians' captaincy and looked disarrayed as a leader, which was reflected in his listless leadership in this match.

India put up a disappointing show as, both their batsmen and bowlers, did not come to the party when things mattered the most.

The top-order including Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rohit and Shreyas Iyer, failed as they looked meek, playing on a bouncing and dicey wicket.

The competent Kagiso Rabada (2/32 in 12 overs), and left-arm seamers Nandre Burger (4/33 in 10) and Marco Jansen (3/36 in 7.1 overs) forced the Indian batsmen to leave their feet in the air as the capacity stadium grabbed every moment to enjoy with Christmas and New Year festivities around the clock.

Even Marco Jansen joined the party with the ball after getting a match-winning half-century with the bat. With 163 runs in arrears, there was little chance of survival as the ball was flying over.

Photo courtesy: X/@ICCPhoto courtesy: X/@ICC

The only saving grace for India was Virat Kohli's valiant 76 runs as he was the only batsman, who could partially conquer the bounce and got his body behind the line to cover the seam movement and also rode the bounce to get his 12 boundaries and a six.

Earlier in the day, Elgar was dismissed after scoring his second-highest score of 185. He gloved a bouncing ball off Shardul Thakur.

Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj bowled their hearts out, but could not get any breakthrough. Then the runs flowed freely after the introduction of Shardul and Prasidh Krishna as Elgar and Jansen expanded the lead at a quick pace.

The duo went on to add 111 runs for the sixth wicket before Shardul had Elgar in a tangle trying to fend a snorter on the legside.

Post-lunch, Jasprit Bumrah (4/69) started in great style by using the new ball to his advantage by sending Rabada's off-stump cartwheeling for one.

A few overs later, Bumrah struck again with a yorker against Burger who made 19 off 18 balls, leaving Jansen 16 short of his maiden Test hundred. Temba Bavuma, who suffered a left hamstring strain, didn't come out to bat.

India were tottering at 62/3 at tea after they bundled out South Africa for 408.

Photo courtesy: X/@BCCIPhoto courtesy: X/@BCCI

India began poorly yet again in their second innings with Kagiso Rabada taking his 50th Test wicket against the tourists by cleaning up Rohit Sharma for a duck. Nandre Burger bounced out opener Yashasvi Jaiswal for 5 after he gloved one attempting to get out of the line of the ball.

Surprisingly, the track looked lively again after it seemed a flat deck when the hosts ground the Indian bowlers for 100+ overs. Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill hemmed in a 39-run stand for the third wicket, with the duo smacking some delectable strokes, but Jansen cleaned bowled Gill with a yorker for 26 off 37 balls in his very second over.

After lunch, India dismissed South Africa for 408 inside 9 overs, but the hosts by then had taken a robust lead of 163 runs in their first innings.

Brief Scores: India 245 (Rahul 101; Rabada 5-59) & 131 (Kohli 76; Burger 4-33) lost to SA 408 (Elgar 185; Bumrah 4-69) by an innings & 32 runs

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