Even a complete washout in Centurion for rain on day two could not prevent India from winning the opening test match against South Africa to take the upper hand in the three match Freedom Trophy Test Series.
KL Rahul’s first innings century claimed the man of the match award but it was the unrelenting Indian bowling unit who collectively all chipped in to secure the victory.
Mohammed Shami took eight wickets in the match but it would hard to split between him, Bumrah and Siraj who all bowled brilliantly especially when it needed one of them to step up.
The big seam trio were admirably supported by Ravi Ashwin who took more wickets in 2021 than any other bowler and despite only taking two wickets on a pitch that probably was not particularly spin friendly still bowled with superb control to create pressure.
All rounder Shardul Thakur also cannot be underestimated while despite being a little expensive at times can be a bit of a golden arm as was shown with the prize wicket of Quinton De Kock in the first innings.
There were some moderate bright spots for South Africa in the defeat skipper Dean Elgar was defiant in the second innings which at one point gave a glimmer of victory when he was set with Bavuma who also batted solidly in both innings.
The South African seam attack shorn of Anrich Nortje through injury bowled better as the match progressed especially Ngidi who took six in the first innings but ultimately the first session of the match when India went wicketless cost the home side who despite beating the bat on numerous occasions did bowl a little wayward at times.
With the victory in Centurion the table below shows India s climb to test match dominance in 2021
|Australia||India||drawn||Sydney||Jan 7-11, 2021|
|Australia||India||India||3 wickets||Brisbane||Jan 15-19, 2021|
|India||England||England||227 runs||Chennai||Feb 5-9, 2021|
|India||England||India||317 runs||Chennai||Feb 13-16, 2021|
|India||England||India||10 wickets||Ahmedabad||Feb 24-25, 2021|
|India||England||India||inns & 25 runs||Ahmedabad||Mar 4-6, 2021|
|India||New Zealand||New Zealand||8 wickets||Southampton||Jun 18-23, 2021|
|England||India||drawn||Nottingham||Aug 4-8, 2021|
|England||India||India||151 runs||Lord’s||Aug 12-16, 2021|
|England||India||England||inns & 76 runs||Leeds||Aug 25-28, 2021|
|England||India||India||157 runs||The Oval||Sep 2-6, 2021|
|India||New Zealand||drawn||Kanpur||Nov 25-29, 2021|
|India||New Zealand||India||372 runs||Mumbai||Dec 3-6, 2021|
|South Africa||India||India||113 runs||Centurion||Dec 26-30, 2021|
Only blemishes being via a double hundred from Joe Root in Chennai ( when England actually scored decent first innings runs !!! )
England won a very favorable toss in that test.
The WTC final in Southampton New Zealand beat India in a one off test match possibly not worthy of the status itself .
In hindsight the Kiwis having a previous test series run out in English conditions prior was a distinct advantage.
It is also worth noting that directly previous to momentous success India had been humiliated in Adelaide by being skittled for 36 in the D/N test. Before squaring the series in Melbourne without skipper Virat Kohli before turn of the year.
The Second Test at the Wanderers Johannesburg starts on Monday where India are undefeated in five visits with the last win being in 2018 by 63 runs.
Mohammed Shami took 5 for 28 in the second innings as South Africa succumbed chasing a total of 241 to win.
On a pitch that traditionally offers more bounce Umesh Yadav might be a better option than Shardul Thakur for India .
South Africa will make at least one enforced change with Quinton De Kock previously missing the rest of the test series for paternity reasons but has subsequently retired from the test arena at 29 years of age.
The timing of the announcement was strange given he had already stated his unavailability for the remainder of the series and possibly gives the impression all is still not 100% sound in the Proteas set up.
Kyle Verreynne will keep wicket in only his third test match.
Fast bowler Duane Olivier will come into contention after missing the opening test with a slight hamstring problem.
Despite there being a mixed weather forecast for the Johannesburg area with rain threatening every day India will start strong favorites
Given the Indian 2021 record and the fact that they usually get stronger as series progress its going to be very tough to see the South Africans gain parity and take us into a decider in Cape Town late January.
Mohammed Shami top indian wicket taker in second test match + 275
India to win the second test match + 110
Drawn second test match + 225
South Africa to win the second test match + 350