India on Thursday beat South Africa in the first Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion by 113 runs, marking their first-ever victory in the city and becoming the first Asian team to win a Test at Centurion.
India vice captain KL Rahul was the star of the show, and his 123 runs in the first innings helped India to a solid 327 first innings total. South Africa were bowled out at 197 in their first innings, while India managed to score 174 in their second innings, courtesy of a combined effort from the team. Subsequently, South Africa were bowled out at 191 in their second innings, which sealed India’s emphatic win at Centurion.
Speaking to media about his man-of-the-match performance, Rahul said that he had been working on his technique when he was out of the team earlier and had made some subtle changes to his game.
“It was just grit and determination, I really wanted to get my team off a good start. The opening stand [with Mayank Agarwal on Day 1] was crucial. It’s been more about my mindset, I have worked a little bit on my technique, I worked really hard on my game when I was out of the team for a couple of years. It’s all coming together now. The discipline I think is the biggest contributor,” said the Indian opening batsman.
Rahul also heaped praise on the Indian pacers, telling media, “[The] fast bowling unit has shown a lot of heart, not just today but [in] the last few years. Happy with the way [Mohammed] Shami bowled and the way other guys chipped in as well. Shami gets the ball to do a little bit extra as Virat [Kohli] said. Very, very special coming to South Africa. This win gives us a lot of confidence.”
India will take heart from their win at Centurion, the first of a three-match Test series that is underway in South Africa. India has never won a Test series at South Africa, but given their historic victory on Thursday, the team will be hopeful about reaching that milestone, which has evaded them for nearly three decades.
The second Test will commence on January 3 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.