Saturday, March 2, 2024

India Takes the Day One Honor in the Opening Test Match at Supersports Park; Courtesy to Their New Test Vice-captain

The first day of the three-match Test series between South Vs India went the way of the visitors. Kannur Lokesh Rahul was recently promoted as the vice-captain of team India’s Test side. Rahul was good in England, and he continued to his majestic form on the opening day of the first Test match.

India won the toss and chose to bat first at Supersports Park in Centurion. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, the opening duo of the PBKS – Punjab Kings franchise, came good as the openers of the Indian Test team. The start was slow and steady. The South African pace bowlers did cause some troubles early on. But the visitor’s batsmen held their nerve and snitched a great opening stand.

Mayank Agarwal was even dropped by the South African wicketkeeper, Quinton De Kock, when he was batting on 36 runs. But the Karnataka opening batters registered a century stand for the first wicket. KL and Agarwal added 117 crucial runs and gave the platform for the Indian middle-order batters to come.

Mayank Agarwal scored brilliant 60 runs, and he was out to Lungisan Ngidi. The Indian openers had scored their first-century partnership in South Africa. Cheteshwar Pujaa was out for first-ball duck despite the wonderful start, and everyone thought that the Proteas bowlers could trigger a collapse.

KL then snitched a half-century stand with the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, and again the stand wasn’t like Rahul and Kohli were smashing the pace attack and lone South African spinner. Like the opening stand, even this stand was also slow and steady. KL Rahul took on Keshav Maharaj, who couldn’t do the holding job.

The South African pacers were good, and they tried everything to build the pressure and get the wickets. But the spells from Keshav Maharaj were up to the mark on the Supersports Park pitch at the centurion. Maharaj eased the pressure of the Indian batters, and Rahul especially pounced on it.

Virat, too had his shares. The Indian captain again failed to capitalize on the good start. After picking up Agarwal and Pujara. Lungi Ngidi was back to get the prized scalp of the King, Virat Kohli, for just 35 runs. But before that, the duo of Indian captain and vice-captain shared a stand of 82 runs for the fourth wicket. 

Many fans and cricket experts criticized Ajinkya Rahane’s selection. They wanted to see Shreyas Iyer after his fantastic debut match against New Zealand at Kanpur or Hanuma Vihari, who was in South Africa with the Indian A team. But the former vice-captain looked in good touch despite the recent lack of runs in Test matches.

Rahane timed the ball beautifully, and he took on the Proteas pace bowlers and Keshav Maharaj, the lone spinner bowler. Ajinkya can break his Jinxs of low scorers in Test matches from this encounter. He also scored a ton at MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground last year in the second Test match, which was also the Boxing Day Test match in 2020.

After India’s 36 all-out shame, Rahane’s captain’s knock lifted the team, and they won the series Down Under for the second time. Rahane has the experience of coming up from his slump on this tour. But in this match, the Karanataka opener made the headlines from the Indian camp.

KL Rahul showcased his grit, determination, and patience to be the second Indian opener to score a Test century against South Africa in the Proteas Nation. Even his partner, Ajinkya Rahane, patted his back after Rahul achieved this spectacular feat in this opening Test match. Currently, Rahul and Rahane are unbeaten on the crease. They have shared 73 runs till now. Rahul is unbeaten on 122 runs, and Rahane has clawed his way back with fluent 40 not-out runs.

India has scored 272 runs for the loss of three wickets. But this Test match is not over yet. There are still four days more to go, and tomorrow Rahul and Rahane need to keep up the work they have done on day one of the Centurion Test match. Rahul should aim for a double hundred. He can be the first Indian opener to achieve this amazing milestone.  

 While Rahane should look to score his first century after the MCG Test match on day two of the first Test match at Supersport Park, Rahane needs to repay the faith shown on him by Kohli, Dravid, and the BCCI selectors. He cannot get this blazing start wasted tomorrow. The first session will be crucial from the Indian team’s point of view.

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