IND vs SA: Architects of India’s Historic Win in Centurion

Virat Kohli and Co. breached South Africa’s fortress Centurion on Thursday to take a 1-0 lead in three-match Test series. South Africa suffered their third-ever Test defeat in Centurion and it was the first time when an Asian team breached their fortress. India have played dominant cricket in Test format in the past couple of years and South Africa are the’ final frontier’ for them and the win on Thursday has boosted their confidence to complete the quest.

India outclassed South Africa in all three departments in the 113-run win. It was not an individual brilliance but the collective performances from the players which landed India the win.

Here are the architects of India’s historic win in Centurion:

KL Rahul

The flamboyant India opener continues to impress everyone with his sublime batting. Rahul set up the foundation of India’s massive win with a majestic 123-run knock in the first innings. The talented batter showed the others how to bat on the tricky surface of Centurion but none of them were able to emulate it. Rahul displayed a lot of patience in the first couple of hours of the game as he batted out the tough spells from Kagiso Rabada and Co. The 29-year-old took the charge over the bowlers after the ball got old. In the second innings too, Rahul faced the most numbers of balls by the Indian batter – 74 balls. Even after his century, Rahul said that he surprised himself with his calmness.

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Mohammed Shami

The premium pacer stood out for India in the bowling department with 8 wickets on a tricky surface that was not offering much swing. Shami with his excellent seam position and strong wrist trouble the South African batters in the first innings where he claimed his sixth five-wicket haul. The 31-year-old took over the charge of the Indian pace attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah (in the first innings) who was out of the field for a long time after twisting his right ankle on follow through. Shami ran through the South African batting order to restrict them for just 197 as India took a healthy 130-run first-innings lead. The ace pacer continued to trouble the Proteas batters in the second innings and claimed three-wicket as India bowled them out for 191 to register a historic win.

Jasprit Bumrah

The pace spearhead missed most of the time from the field in South Africa’s first innings after twisting his ankle but he made sure to leave a major impact in the second innings. The premier pacer stole the thunder in the final few minutes of the match by getting crucial wickets of Rassie van der Dussen and Keshav Maharaj. Kohli brought Bumrah back into the attack in the final 30 minutes of the day to break the gritty stand between Elgar and Van der Dussen and the 28-year-old delivered straightaway with a jaffa which broke the latter’s defence. While, at the end of the day, Bumrah did what he does best, bowling a toe-crushing yorker and this time nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj became the victim of that. The Proteas player had no clue how to tackle that and the ball destroyed the stumps in a flash to put India on top. And he landed the major blow to South Africa on day 5 by dismissing captain Dean Elgar who was probably the only thing standing between India and victory at that time. Elgar’s wicket opened the door for India’s victory.

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Mohammed Siraj

The young pacer didn’t take many wickets in the Test match he bowled his heart out in every over. There was never a lack of energy when he had the ball in hand. He ran hard against the Proteas batters and asked tough questions throughout the Test. He ended the match with only 3 wickets which couldn’t justify his contribution to the win. He bowled with a lot of aggression which put the hosts’ batters on their toes. With every performance, Siraj is making his case stronger to become an integral part of India’s rich fast bowling attack.

Mayank Agarwal

The opening batter showcased his talent once again and scored a fluent 60 on day 1 of the Test match. Mayank took the pressure off his opening partner and good friend KL Rahul who was batting with a cautious approach in the initial. Mayank stitched a 117-run stand with Rahul to take India off to a solid start in the series opener. However, a controversial decision from the third umpire ended his stay in the middle. Before the match, Mayank had a huge responsibility to fill in the shoes of Rohit Sharma, who missed the series due to a hamstring injury, and the 30-year-old did well in the opening Test.

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