South Africa delivered a stunning performance to defeat India by an innings and 32 runs in the first Test of the three-match series at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday. The hosts bowled out India for 131 in their second innings, with Kagiso Rabada taking four wickets and Lungi Ngidi three. South Africa had earlier scored 379 in their first innings, thanks to a brilliant century by Dean Elgar and a half-century by Quinton de Kock.
Rabada leads South Africa’s pace attack
Rabada was the star of the show for South Africa, as he claimed his 15th five-wicket haul in the first innings and added four more scalps in the second. He finished with match figures of 9 for 81, the best by a South African bowler against India in Tests. He was well supported by Ngidi, who took six wickets in the match, and Anrich Nortje, who took three. The trio exploited the pace and bounce of the Centurion pitch and troubled the Indian batsmen throughout the match.
Elgar anchors South Africa’s batting
Elgar was the mainstay of South Africa’s batting, as he scored an unbeaten 127 in the first innings. He faced 263 balls and hit 16 fours and a six, showing great patience and skill against the Indian bowlers. He shared a 117-run stand with de Kock, who scored 65, and a 79-run partnership with Wiaan Mulder, who made 36. Elgar’s century was his 14th in Tests and his third against India. He also became the first South African opener to carry his bat in a Test innings since Gary Kirsten in 1999.
India’s batting collapses twice
India’s batting was the main reason for their defeat, as they failed to cope with the South African pace attack in both innings. In the first innings, they were bowled out for 209, with only KL Rahul offering some resistance with a gritty 70. He was the only Indian batsman to score a half-century in the match. In the second innings, India lost their top four wickets for 39 runs and never recovered. Virat Kohli scored 50, his 28th Test half-century, but fell to Rabada soon after reaching the milestone. None of the other Indian batsmen could cross 20, as South Africa wrapped up the match before tea on the third day.
South Africa take 1-0 lead in the series
South Africa’s victory gave them 30 points in the World Test Championship and a 1-0 lead in the series. It was also their first Test win over India since 2018 and their first innings victory over them since 2015. The hosts will be hoping to continue their momentum in the second Test, which starts on January 3 in Johannesburg. India, on the other hand, will have to regroup and bounce back, as they aim to retain the Freedom Trophy that they won in 2018.