india-storm-fortress-centurion-to-win-first-test

India storm fortress Centurion to win first Test

South Africa lose final three wickets in eight balls to slip to just a third Test defeat at SuperSport Park; Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah take three wickets each for the tourists; Dean Elgar top-scores for the hosts with 77

Last Updated: 30/12/21 11:50am

    Mohammed Shami is congratulated by captain Virat Kohli after taking a wicket on the final day of the first Test between India and South Africa

    Mohammed Shami is congratulated by captain Virat Kohli after taking a wicket on the final day of the first Test between India and South Africa

    South Africa collapsed on the final day of the first Test at Centurion as India won by 113 runs to draw first blood in the three-match series.

    Resuming on 94-4, with 211 still required to pull off comfortably the biggest fourth-innings run chase in Tests at SuperSport Park, South Africa lost three wickets before lunch – including, crucially, that of captain Dean Elgar.

    And their final three went down in the space of eight balls after the resumption as they were all out for 191, giving Virat Kohli’s tourists victory on a ground where the hosts had been beaten in Tests just twice previously, and not since 2014.

    Home hopes always appeared likely to rest on the shoulders of Elgar, who took the fight to the India attack early on but had already survived a missed caught-and-bowled chance off Mohammed Shami before he was trapped in front by Jasprit Bumrah (3-50), coming round the wicket.

    Elgar (77) had added 25 to his overnight 52, his departure bringing Quinton de Kock to the crease to partner Temba Bavuma, and the wicket-keeper chopped on for the second time in the match after a bright 21 to give Mohammed Siraj a second wicket of the innings.

    Shami (3-63) then found Wiaan Mulder’s edge to leave South Africa 182-7 at the interval, and the seamer made it eight wickets in the match soon after the restart with the near-identical dismissal of Marco Jansen.

    At that point, all 38 wickets to fall in the match had done so to seamers, but Ravichandran Ashwin got a couple in the column for the spinners in as many balls, Kagiso Rabada thick-edging to backward point and Lungi Ngidi helping his first delivery to short leg.

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    KL Rahul’s first-innings hundred earned him the player-of-the-match award, India’s win erasing some of the memories of their two previous Centurion Tests, which ended in defeats by an innings and 25 runs and, in 2018, by 135 runs.

    Captain Kohli said afterwards: “It’s always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball and in the field.”

    And of Shami, who brought up 200 Test wickets during the course of the match, he added: “[He] is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top three seam bowlers in the world for me. I’m very happy for him to get 200 wickets and have an impactful performance.”

    Elgar said: “I’d say the difference was the batting. I think we can have a little sit down and strategise going forward. I don’t think we did a lot wrong.”

    Watch day one of the second Test between South Africa and India, from Johannesburg, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Monday.