India tottered to 208/8 on day 1 of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park, after rain and poor light interrupted play. Kagiso Rabada took five wickets to put India in a tough spot. The fast bowler was on fire, taking 5/44 in an engaging afternoon session. KL Rahul, however, steadied India’s innings with a battling knock of 70 not out off 105 balls, carving out 10 boundaries and two sixes.
The day’s play was cut short due to bad light, leaving India in a precarious position with Mohammed Siraj accompanying Rahul, yet to open his account after facing 10 balls. Earlier, Rahul displayed resilience, keeping hopes alive for India to add more runs on the second day.
Temba Bavuma chose to bowl first after winning the toss. Rain delayed start, and India’s opening pair, Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal, faced a daunting challenge against Rabada’s bowling prowess. Rohit fell early, scoring 5 off 14 balls, pulling a short delivery to long leg.
Jaiswal, after a brisk start, lost his wicket to Nandre Burger, edging behind the stumps. Shubman Gill’s departure followed, gloving a ball into the keeper’s hands. Despite some chances given, both Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli took advantage, building a resilient partnership of 67 runs for the fourth wicket. However, Rabada’s exceptional bowling dismissed Iyer for 31 and then got the prized wicket of Kohli for 34, leaving India reeling at 107/5.
Rabada continued to torment India’s batting lineup, eventually completing his 500th wicket in international cricket. Amidst the collapse, Rahul stood tall, reaching his fifty with assertive strokes. His innings included 10 boundaries and two sixes, leading the fightback against the South African bowlers.
However, just as KL Rahul looked to stabilize the innings, a series of strikes from Rabada and Burger limited India’s progress. Shardul Thakur, displaying grit with a quickfire 24, contributed to a brief resurgence before falling to Rabada. Despite Rahul’s valiant effort, India ended the day struggling at 208/8.
South Africa faced a setback as their skipper, Bavuma, exited the field due to an injury. Dean Elgar took over the captaincy in Bavuma’s absence, adding to the drama of the day’s play.