Red shiny new ball in hand. Everyone is moved when they see the red ball in Test cricket. If it is the second new ball, it is more. What could be better than a new ball to rejuvenate the day of relaxation!
Marco Jansen threw that new ball far out, the length is just like the batsman’s mind. After Ajinkya Rahane hit the ball at the bat, no one had any doubt about the fate of the ball. Crunch!
He died with points, a full-day advertisement for four Centurion Tests. South Africa, who came down with the weakest team in their history against India at home, were behind all day. Why would it be otherwise in the last afternoon! India scored 282 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in Centurion for the first time in their hopes of winning the series in South Africa.
The last time he bowled a Test against India at home, Kagiso Rabadar and Lungi Ngidi had no responsibility. When Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were on the bowling attack, the young Rabada went on without thinking about the pressure. Like Philander, Nirvar Rabada got 15 wickets. Ngidio took 9 wickets in two matches instead of Stein.
Today, when the two of them take charge of the new ball, all the weight of the team is on their shoulders. South Africa dropped all-rounder Wayne Mulder as the fourth fast bowler. And the third pacer today is the inaugural Mark Jansen. The picture of Yansen taken with Virat Kohli when he came to bowl in the net in 2016 was also circulating on social media.
On the day of his inauguration, Yansen did not have any other way to discuss. Just as he opened the second new ball with a boundary in the 61st over, so did the first ball in his Test. Jansen realized how difficult Test cricket is by digesting three or four in his first over.
Why only Jansen, no South African bowler could cut the mark today. That is why Yansen appeared in the tenth over. Mulder also got the ball in the 12th over. Keshab Maharaj got the ball in the last over before the lunch break. India’s two openers handled the over effortlessly and went to lunch. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal also reached a break with 63 runs without wickets. This is the first time since the 2006 Cape Town Test that India have not lost a wicket in the first session of a Test outside the country.
But it could not be. India could have lost the wicket by 52 runs. If Quinton de Kock could have caught the hard catch given by Agarwal off Jansen. Agarwal, who got life for 36 runs, finally stopped in the 41st over.
South Africa made a strong appeal when the ball hit Agarwal’s pad for 60 runs. But umpire Erasmus did not agree. Captain Dean Elgar took the review at the very last moment. The decision to exit was announced in the review. By then the opening pair had scored 116 runs. After 11 years and 15 innings, any Indian opening pair on Indian soil paroled a century.
The hosts did not need 40.2 overs to get the next wicket. Ngidi returned Cheteshwar Pujara with the next ball. Virat Kohli handled the hat-trick ball well and gave Rahul a good support. Rahul, who has been playing the role of Agarwal’s sidekick for so long, has taken responsibility for the third wicket partnership. The two spent the second session together. In the third session also, the two were disappointing Rabada.
Kohli gave a little hope to the South African bowlers. Ngidi was getting trapped by blocking the run for some time. Then he threw the ball at good length far out of the off stump. Kohli (35) was caught in the third slip while driving while desperate to return to form.
South Africa did not return to the match. Rahul is only the second Indian opener to score a century after Wasim Zafar (116, 2006). Rahane (40 *) in the unfinished fourth wicket partnership brought 63 runs. Rahul finished the first day with 122 runs in 16 fours and 1 six. Ngidi is the only successful bowler of the first day with 3 wickets for 45 runs.