KL Rahul Shines with a Spectacular Century in Centurion, Securing His 8th Test Hundred in the Opening Match Against South Africa. KL Rahul showcased immense composure and grit in an outstanding innings at Centurion, securing his 8th Test century during the series opener against South Africa. Enduring challenging spells and overcast conditions, Rahul displayed his prowess in a remarkable innings.
This marked his second century in Tests at the venue, making him the first overseas cricketer to achieve this milestone. Taking only 133 balls to reach the three-figure mark, Rahul balanced defensive acumen with attacking flair throughout the first and second days of the Test. Notably, this match also marked Rahul’s debut as the designated wicketkeeper-batter in Test cricket, adding another dimension to his stellar performance.
KL Rahul’s Resilience Shines in the Face of Adversity: Rebuilding Innings from 92/4 at Supersport Park
In a challenging scenario, KL Rahul took the crease with India struggling at 92/4, having lost key wickets, including Shreyas Iyer (31) and Virat Kohli (38) after a promising 68-run partnership. Now the lone designated batter, Rahul displayed remarkable resilience on the demanding Supersport Park surface. Despite the tough conditions, he trusted his skills and built crucial partnerships with the tailenders, steering India through a challenging phase in the match.
In a display of determination, KL Rahul crafted a crucial 43-run partnership for the seventh wicket before falling victim to Rabada, who dismissed Shardul Thakur for 24. Undeterred by the fall of wickets, Rahul persisted, accumulating 70 runs off 105 balls and steering India beyond the 200-run mark. His brilliantly-paced innings proved pivotal, as without his efforts, it might have been a daunting task for the visitors to surpass even 150 in the first innings. Rahul’s resilience and contribution were instrumental in India’s competitive position in the match.
Facing early disruptions due to rain and a wet outfield on the second day, KL Rahul showcased determination and skill. In his first over of the day, he encountered challenges from Kagiso Rabada’s significant movement off the surface, but Rahul remained composed. Capitalizing on poorly delivered balls, he particularly punished anything short with disdain towards the boundary.
A remarkable acceleration from 70 to 95 occurred in just six overs, including 24 runs from four boundaries and a six. The climax of his innings saw Rahul reaching the coveted century mark with a six in the 67th over against Gerald Coetzee. With only one wicket remaining (Siraj dismissed in the same over), Rahul faced the last delivery. In response to Dean Elgar’s decision to bring all fielders close inside the circle, Rahul smashed the delivery for a six towards midwicket, reaching the century milestone in 133 balls. The innings not only reflected Rahul’s resilience but also his ability to conclude with flair and style.
KL Rahul’s stellar performance in Centurion not only marked his second successive century at the venue but also positioned him as the second Indian wicketkeeper-batter to achieve this feat in South Africa, following in the footsteps of Rishabh Pant, who accomplished the milestone during the 2021/22 tour.
Despite his remarkable innings, Rahul was eventually dismissed for 101, contributing significantly as India posted a total of 245 in the first innings.
KL Rahul’s Masterclass Century Earns Praise from Cricket Legends Gavaskar and Shastri
In a remarkable display of skill and resilience, KL Rahul not only anchored the Indian innings with a splendid century but also showcased his ability to shepherd the tail, adding 54 crucial runs with the last two wickets. Resuming on 208/8, Rahul shifted gears to reach his century, drawing admiration from cricket legends Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri.
Gavaskar, paying a significant compliment, labeled Rahul’s knock as one of the top 10 innings played by an Indian in Test cricket. This praise carries immense weight, considering the rich history of Indian cricket with over 200 centuries scored. Gavaskar, expressing his admiration, said, “An innings to remember. Watching cricket for the last 50 years, but I can surely say that this hundred by Rahul is in the Top 10 centuries scored by Indians in Test cricket.“
Shastri, equally impressed, hailed Rahul’s innings as his best by a long shot. Despite Rahul’s previous centuries in challenging conditions against Australia, England, and South Africa, Shastri emphasized the exceptional quality of this innings. One notable aspect was Rahul’s ability to guide the tailenders without compromising their contributions. Shastri expressed confidence in Rahul’s permanent spot in India’s Test middle-order, highlighting his strokeplay, application, and adaptability to challenging conditions.
“With the quality of his strokeplay, the application, trying conditions… he sussed them well. And I just loved his intent. By a country mile, his best hundred. And one of the best centuries you will ever see by an Indian overseas. I think these were testing conditions, and he was brilliant. Whether he continues keeping or not, India should certainly look at him at No. 5 or 6 on a regular basis,” Shastri concluded, recognizing Rahul’s pivotal role in the team.
Dean Elgar’s Unbeaten 140 Guides South Africa to 11-Run Lead Over India in First Innings
In the first innings, South Africa posted a total of 265/3, led by Dean Elgar’s outstanding unbeaten knock of 140, supported by David Bedingham’s 56. India had earlier scored 245, with KL Rahul’s impressive century (101) and Virat Kohli’s contribution of 38. The South African bowlers, particularly Kagiso Rabada (5/59) and Nandre Burger (3/50), played a key role in restricting India. As a result, South Africa holds an 11-run lead heading into the next phase of the match.