KL Rahul, resilient as ever, displayed exceptional composure on a testing pitch, anchoring India with an unbeaten 70 off 105 deliveries before rain intervened, halting play at 208 for 8 in 59 overs.
Rabada’s spell was nothing short of menacing, dismantling India’s batting lineup with precision. He dismissed key figures like Virat Kohli (38 off 64 balls) and Rohit Sharma (5) with deliveries that showcased his skill and class. Shreyas Iyer‘s (31 off 50 balls) defense was exposed by a delivery that kept low, leading to his dismissal.
IND vs SA, 1st Test, Day 1: AS IT HAPPENED
Rabada’s fifer, his 14th in Tests, included crucial scalps like Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur, whose brave effort succumbed to a well-directed bouncer.
Despite Rahul’s resilience, the lack of partnerships has put India in a tough spot, making a first-innings score of 250 seem distant.
Rabada, returning from a break from white-ball cricket, effortlessly found his rhythm, utilising the pitch conditions to trouble Indian batsmen with sharp bounce and late swing.
His masterclass against Kohli, forcing an error from the veteran, served as a lesson for young pacers. Rabada’s crafty delivery deceived Kohli, deviating late to claim an outside edge, leaving the Indian skipper amazed.
Kohli had a stroke of luck early in his innings when he was dropped on four, but he capitalized on the chance and steadied the ship alongside Iyer.
At the toss, Temba Bavuma’s decision to bowl first proved fruitful as his bowlers exploited the challenging conditions, capitalizing on the unfamiliar steep bounce that troubled the Indian lineup, predominantly accustomed to white-ball cricket in recent months.
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Bavuma’s strategic field placement, particularly against Rohit Sharma, paid dividends, with Rabada executing a well-planned delivery that lured Rohit into a pull shot, resulting in an easy catch for the fielder stationed at long leg.
The young debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal displayed glimpses of promise but fell victim to Rabada’s relentless pressure, succumbing to a well-executed drive that found the keeper’s gloves.
Nandre Burger’s dismissal of Shubman Gill was a testament to his strategic bowling, setting up the right-hander with a series of deliveries before inducing an unplayable ball that brushed Gill’s gloves on its way to the keeper.