Their stronghold at home against the tourists remained unbroken as the home team’s bowling attack dismantled India’s batting lineup, restricting them to 131 runs in the second innings after South Africa secured a commanding 163-run lead by scoring 408 in the first innings.
AS IT HAPPENED: India lose first Test
Debutant Nandre Burger impressed with four wickets, supported by Marco Jansen who claimed three and Kagiso Rabada with two wickets.
Despite Virat Kohli‘s resilient effort, India faced a dramatic collapse, starting with an opportunity missed by South Africa at the beginning of India’s second innings when an edge from Yashasvi Jaiswal off Rabada was dropped by Aiden Markram at second slip.
Rohit Sharma fell to Rabada, and Jaiswal departed soon after to Burger’s searing delivery.
While Shubman Gill briefly resisted with 26 runs, Jansen dismissed him, leaving India struggling at 62-3 during tea. Kohli anchored the innings, but wickets continued to tumble in the final session. Jansen dismissed Shreyas Iyer and then Burger claimed two wickets in consecutive balls, removing KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin.
South Africa’s fielders were sharp, with David Bedingham taking catches at gully, including Shardul Thakur’s wicket, making it Rabada’s seventh in the Test. Jasprit Bumrah was run out, and Mohammed Siraj fell after a review by South Africa.
Kohli’s valiant stand ended at 76 runs off 82 balls, caught brilliantly by Rabada in the deep, concluding an exhilarating contest.
Earlier, South Africa began the day at 256-6, extending their lead with Dean Elgar adding runs to reach 185 before being dismissed just before lunch.
Elgar and Jansen formed a crucial 111-run partnership for the sixth wicket, displaying positive intent against India’s bowling attack, with Jansen reaching his highest Test score of 84 not out.
For his magnificent 185, Elgar was adjudged Man of the Match.
“Pretty special knock. Sometimes what we want to do hasn’t worked out as plans, but happy that it worked today. I think you need to keep things nice and simple, the game is already pretty complex. Focus on the ball, play nice and straight. Play late and be great. You got to ride the roller when it is in your favour. Good partnerships with Tony, and then Jansen showed his talent as well. You need fast bowlers and a spinner potentially to take 20 wickets, that’s how we win Test matches. KG was brilliant, but then Nandre showed why he has been such a shining light for South African cricket,” Elgar said after the match.
“First few days were overcast, and close to a sellout. Crowds don’t need much motivation to come out and watch their cricket or rugby in Pretoria. You can’t win a 2 Test series if you don’t win the first one, the Indians are difficult to beat. We’ll have a few days out to relax and enjoy this. We were pretty clinical, our fielding wasn’t the best and we didn’t make it too easy for ourselves at times,” he said.
The next Test is scheduled at Newlands in Cape Town from January 3rd to 7th.
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