In the opening day of the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion, South African pace maestro Kagiso Rabada showcased his prowess by claiming five crucial wickets, leaving India in a challenging position. Despite a shaky start at 24 for three, KL Rahul resiliently battled through the tough conditions, finishing the session at tea with an unbeaten 39.
Rabada’s exceptional performance resulted in figures of five for 41, marking his 14th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. India, sent in to bat, reached 176 for seven at tea. Virat Kohli (38) and Shreyas Iyer (31) managed to revive the innings with a partnership of 68 runs, but both fell victim to Rabada’s skillful bowling immediately after lunch.
The South African captain, Temba Bavuma, left the field due to a strained left hamstring injury before lunch, and his return to the match remains uncertain, pending daily medical evaluations. The pitch, under cover for 40 hours due to rain, offered ample assistance to the bowlers, with Nandre Burger providing consistent support to Rabada by claiming two early wickets.
The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes due to damp patches on the pitch, emphasizing the challenging playing conditions faced by both teams. The match’s progression will be closely monitored, with uncertainty surrounding Bavuma’s participation and India’s prospects in the ongoing Test.