Team India, on Thursday scripted history at SuperSport Park in Centurion as they beat South Africa by 113 runs on Day 5 of the Boxing Day Test. Following this victory, team India became the first Asian Team to register a win in Centurion, which is also known as South Africa’s fortress.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal’s contribution with the bat put the Indian side in the driver’s seat in the first innings but it was the Indian pace attack on the final day of the Test which broke the spine of the South African batting unit.
Shami and Mohammed Siraj helped India take an early edge in the final innings of South Africa by dismissing Aiden Markram and Keegan Petersen respectively. Bumrah, later on strikes on Day 4 and sent Rassie van der Dussen and Keshav Maharaj back into the pavilion.
Coming on the final day of the play, South Africa suffered an early blow as Bumrah continued his fierce form and sent South Africa’s captain Dean Elgar (77) back into the hut. Bavuma and Quinton de Kock, however tried to settle in but Mohd Siraj had different plans as he sent later back in the 60th over of South Africa’s chase and helped India come closer to victory.
Shami, once again came into the picture as he dismissed Wiaan Mulder and Marco Jansen for the score of 1 and 13 respectively.
The final nail in the coffin was delivered by the only spinner team India played – Ravichandran Ashwin, who dismissed Lungi Ngidi for a duck as Bavuma remained unbeaten on 35.
In the era when teams in the longest format of the game are mostly known for their batting unit or their depth, Team India is hailed for their fierce pace attack. India’s series victories in Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21 and later sheer dominance over England in England in 2021 shows how treacherous this pace-bowling attack is.
However, newly-appointed Test vice-captain KL Rahul revealed something more interesting about this pace-bowling. The Karnataka-born said it’s not just the opposition batters who are scared of India pacers but their own batters are nervous while facing them at the nets. He also said they have kept the India batters terrified at the nets.
“Playing them at the nets is more difficult because we don’t enjoy facing them in the nets. Even at the nets, they keep us terrified. They don’t look at us as teammates, they are very, very competitive athletes and players,” Rahul said after the Centurion victory on Thursday.
KL Rahul further added that Team India is blessed to have such a pace bowling line up. He also talked about the great bench strength of team India, with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav being there.
“We are very lucky to have such quality in our bowling line-up. Two, three people who are at the bench as well. In Umesh and Ishant, we have a great bench strength. It’s a very positive sign for Team India that there are so many quality fast bowlers in the team and on the bench.”