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Home > Sports News > Cricket News > Article > India dance to Rabada beat before KL belts out an unbeaten 70

India dance to Rabada beat before KL belts out an unbeaten 70

Updated on: 27 December,2023 07:04 AM IST  |  Centurion
R Kaushik |

South Africa’s lead pacer Kagiso claims 14th five-wicket haul in Tests while wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul holds India’s innings together as Rohit & Co end rain-truncated day at 208-8

India dance to Rabada beat before KL belts out an unbeaten 70

South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates India captain Rohit Sharma’s wicket yesterday. Pic/PTI; (right) India’s KL Rahul celebrates his half-century against South Africa in Centurion yesterday. Pic/AFP

KL Rahul and Kagiso Rabada were the unchallenged heroes at SuperSport Park on Tuesday, the former keeping India in the hunt with a classy unbeaten half-century after the latter had put on a fabulous show of fast bowling on a helpful surface with his 14th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.


Day One of the first Test on Tuesday, truncated as it was, made for absorbing viewing. Play started a half-hour late due to wet spots and ended early due to first bad light and then the predicted rain, ensuring that only 59 overs of play was possible. But in that period, the game had progressed rapidly, India wending their way to 208 for eight after being put in by Temba Bavuma.


All throughout the day, even when the sun occasionally shone through brightly, the ball jagged around menacingly. That, allied with the tennis ball-like bounce, made life difficult for the batsmen, which alone put Rahul’s unbeaten 70 in perspective.


India were rocked in the fifth over when Rohit Sharma fell to Rabada on the pull, and Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill handed debutant Nandre Burger his first wickets in Test cricket in his second and third overs respectively. At 24 for three, India were in trouble before Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer rallied them with a fourth-wicket stand of 68.

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Reprieved on four apiece, they seemed to have gotten over the worst when, in the first over after lunch, Rabada breached Iyer’s defences. In that same spell, he had Kohli caught behind with a beauty and R Ashwin – Ravindra Jadeja missed out with upper back spasms in the morning – held at third slip. At 121 for six, the end appeared nigh.

Rahul ensured that wasn’t the case with an excellent hand in his first Test as wicketkeeper-batsman. Playing the ball on its merit but not allowing himself to be bogged down, he carried on unflustered, emboldened by the positive intent of Shardul Thakur as 43 came for the seventh wicket in quick time. As is his wont, Thakur batted with freedom, though when he was roughed up by Burger and Rabada in successive overs, one attacking shot too many was always on the cards. The ball after he was struck above his right elbow by Rabada, he drove the pacer to extra cover, giving Rabada a deserved five-for.

Rahul wasn’t done, though. There was a screaming drive over cover off Marco Jansen for a superb six and he reached his fifty with another six, this time off Burger, justifying the faith reposed in him by the team management. It will be up to him to add a few more runs to the tally, and give Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Thakur and debutant Prasidh Krishna enough to attack South Africa’s batting, potentially one resource short after Bavuma left the field with a hamstring injury.

Brief scores
India 208-8 (KL Rahul 70*, V Kohli 38, S Iyer 31; K Rabada 5-44, N Burger 2-50) v South Africa

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