Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
30 Dec 2021
1:07 pm

India thump the Proteas to clinch first Test in Centurion

Ken Borland

The visitors now enjoy a 1-0 lead in the three match series, with Tests to come in Joburg and Cape Town.

Mohammed Siraj of India celebrates the wicket of Quinton de Kock of the Proteas during day five of the first Test between the teams in Centurion. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images


South Africa’s blundering batsmen were no match for India’s potent bowling attack on a boobytrap-laden SuperSport Park pitch as they were bowled out for 191 in their second innings on Thursday to lose the first Test at Centurion by 113 runs.

Only Dean Elgar, with 77 in more than four hours at the crease, and Temba Bavuma, who scored 35 not out off 80 balls, were able to keep abreast of the demands of batting on the final day, as South Africa were set 305 to win, which would have been a record chase at Centurion.

Despite the best efforts of Elgar and Bavuma, India were closing in on victory at lunch as they reduced South Africa to 182/7.

The end came ridiculously quickly after the break as Marco Jansen was caught behind for 13 in Mohammad Shami’s first over and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then took the last two wickets with successive balls in the following over.

Kagiso Rabada boobed by playing an expansive drive without getting anywhere near the pitch of the ball and looping a catch to backward point, with Lungi Ngidi then turning his first ball straight to leg slip.

South Africa had resumed on the final morning on 94/4. Elgar, who had survived for more than three hours on the fourth afternoon, battled on for another 45 minutes on Thursday before the outstanding Jasprit Bumrah eventually got the better of the Proteas captain.

Having recently switched to around the wicket to the left-hander, Bumrah zipped a delivery back into the batsman, trapping him lbw for a tenacious 77, made in 243 minutes off 156 balls.

Bavuma and Elgar had added 36 for the fifth wicket and the vice-captain continued to show great composure through the entire morning session, going to lunch on 34 not out.

None of the other South African batsmen have put such hefty prices on their wickets, which is why the home side once again failed to reach 200, never mind 300.

Quinton de Kock scored a carefree 21 but was not playing the situation, which required really tight, disciplined batting, and his third loose waft outside off stump brought his downfall, edging Mohammed Siraj into his stumps.

Shami then returned to the attack and his second delivery was bang on the money, a fraction outside off stump and straightening, with extra bounce, and Wiaan Mulder could only get a thin edge to a fine ball, being caught behind for a single.

Bumrah was the best of the bowlers with 3/50 in 19 overs, while Siraj took 2/47 in 18 overs and Shami 3/63 in 17.