Centurion Test player of the match KL Rahul stated that his hundred in the opening Test of the series against South Africa was right up there with his best. Rahul scored 123 in the first innings as India won the Centurion Test by 113 runs on Day 5. The Indian opener was the only batter to reach three figures from either side. Batting first after winning the toss on Day 1, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (60) featured in a century opening stand to get India off to a great start. Mohammed Shami then claimed five wickets in South Africa’s first innings to put the visitors in command.
Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour has backed captain Virat Kohli to continue playing his drives outside off stump. However, he agreed that the skipper will need to pick the right balls to drive. Kohli got out playing loose wafts outside the off stump in both innings of the Centurion Test. The same pattern has been visible in the Indian captain’s batting for a few months now.
Mohammed Shami starred for India with 5 for 44 on Day 3 of the Centurion Test. India, resuming their innings on 272 for 3, folded up for 327 as Lungi Ngidi claimed six. However, Shami’s five-wicket haul played a pivotal role in bundling South Africa out for 197, securing a crucial 130-run lead for India. Shami’s fifth wicket in the innings (Kagiso Rabada) was also his 200th in Test cricket, making him the fifth Indian pace bowler to reach to landmark
Team India all-rounder Shardul Thakur has stated that he has a lot of confidence and self-belief, which is one of the reasons he has been able to deliver under tough circumstances in a short international career. Thakur is part of the playing XI for the 1st Test against South Africa in Centurion. He scored a crucial half-century during the Gabba Test against Australia at the start of the year. Thakur also contributed fifties in both innings of The Oval Test apart from picking up crucial wickets.
India opener Mayank Agarwal said that the team’s plan was to be very disciplined after the visitors won the toss and decided to bat first on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. India finished the day on 272 for 3. KL Rahul was unbeaten on 122 at stumps while Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 40. Agarwal himself contributed a defiant 60 while Virat Kohli was dismissed for 35.
Team India’s head coach Rahul Dravid has heaped praise on Test captain Virat Kohli, terming him as a player who keeps evolving and pushing himself. Kohli will lead India in the three-match Test series, which will begin with the first match at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar has praised Indian cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, terming him one of the best off-spinners India has ever produced. At the same time, he pointed out that the class bowler has not tasted much success in South Africa, which is why they are not going to focus specifically on him in the build up to the three-match Test series.
India’s No. 3 batter Cheteshwar Pujara feels that India’s fast bowlers could be the difference between the two teams in South Africa. Pujara pointed out that India have always done well away from home when their fast bowlers have delivered, whether in Australia or England. Even on the previous tour, while India lost 1-2, their pacers came up with some excellent performances.
Seasoned Team India batter Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the three-match Test series in South Africa due to a hamstring injury. Rohit was earlier named as vice-captain of the team for the Test series, which will begin with the Boxing Day Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.