India vs South Africa 1st Test 2021: The fortress has fallen – India closing in on conquering ‘final frontier’ | Cricket News – Times of India

The fortress has fallen. A first ever Test win for India in Centurion has helped Virat Kohli and co. breach the traditional South African fortress. With this win, India have also become the first Asian nation to win a Test in Centurion.
Make no mistake about it. This is a big big win. Yes the South Africans might be going through a transition phase, they might not have the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis anymore, but let’s not take anything away from the Indian team, especially the bowlers who scripted this famous 113 run win.

Incredibly this is only India’s fourth Test win on South African soil in 21 Tests, since they first toured the Rainbow Nation in 1992. Virat Kohli is now the first Indian captain to win two Tests on South African soil. The first Indian captain to have won a Test in South Africa, Rahul Dravid, was in the dressing room on Thursday as well, this time in the capacity of the Head coach of the Indian team. The other Indian captain who has won a Test in South Africa is MS Dhoni (2010-11 tour).

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One thing that can be easily forgotten in the middle of the euphoric storm of winning this Test match is that the match was won in four days, not five. Day 2 was completely washed out due to rain. Overall, the Indian bowlers took all 20 South African wickets in 130.3 overs.

Though KL Rahul walked away with the Man of the Match award, the chief architects of this big win were once again the fast bowlers. The Proteas incredibly were not allowed to cross even 200 in either innings (197 & 191). You need to take 20 wickets to win a Test match and in this current Indian pace bowling attack you have players who are hungry, really hungry and more importantly players who really relish bowling in pace friendly conditions, because that’s when they really come into their own. If Bumrah doesn’t get you, Shami will, if he doesn’t Siraj will. And this with the likes of Ishant and Umesh on the bench.

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In Pics: India beat South Africa by 113 runs to register first-ever Test win in Centurion

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<p>India completed a convincing 113-run win on the fifth day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday. Resuming on 94 for four in a chase of 305 to win, South Africa were bowled out for 191, losing their last three wickets in the first two overs after lunch. (AFP Photo)</p>

Mohammed Shami took 8-107 in the match, Jasprit Bumrah who survived an injury scare bagged 5 wickets, Siraj took 3 and Shardul chipped in with 2. R Aswhin put the cherry on the cake, bagging the last two Protea wickets to hand India a big win and a 1-0 series lead.
The fast bowlers have made the difference for India when they are in foreign conditions over the past few years. For many the Indian pace attack is currently the best in the world, closely rivaled perhaps by the Aussies and the likes of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, amongst others.

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Mohammed Shami (AFP Photo)
According to Virat Kohli the big difference between the two teams was the way the opening batsmen played. And he is right. While the bowlers won India the match, the main difference between the two sides was that while a few of the Indian batsmen stood tall and scored big, for the hosts, barring Temba Bavuma across both innings and Dean Elgar in the second, the other specialist batsmen didn’t really do much. For India KL Rahul (123 and 23) and Mayank Agarwal (60 and 4) have been standout performers with the willow. Incredibly, out of Rahul’s seven Test centuries so far, 6 have been scored away from home.

The shaky South African batting ensured that the Proteas couldn’t really capitalise on the opportunities their fast bowlers created. India crashed from 272-3 in their first innings to 327 all out. But the Proteas could only score 197 in response, handing India a very crucial 130 run first innings lead.
The Indian batting faltered in the second innings as Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen bagged 4 wickets each to bowl the visitors out for 174, but the 305 run target, though not a huge one on paper, looked very far away purely because of the quality of the Indian pace attack.

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Lungi Ngidi celebrates taking the wicket of KL Rahul. (Reuters Photo)
Going forward though the Indian batting overall will have to step up to the plate, because the Proteas will look to bounce back with everything they have got. They might have lost this contest, but a big partnership here or there could have produced a very different result for the home team. The Indian batting will have to back up its bowling so as to ensure the bowlers are not needed to bail the team out of trouble on a consistent basis. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara might also be running out of time to save their careers.

But for now, it’s the triumphant feeling that has to be celebrated. Rahul Dravid will know exactly the areas that the Indian team needs to work on, so that the chinks in the armour can be removed as best as possible going into the second Test in Johannesburg.

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Australia has already been conquered, but India remember have never won a Test series in South Africa. According to many experts this is India’s best chance of breaking that jinx.
With the visitors leading 1-0 in the 3 Test series against the Proteas, the ‘final frontier’ might just be conquered this time. Over to the Bullring.

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