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IND v SA: KL Rahul’s fantastic 101 takes India to 245 all out in first innings at Centurion

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Centurion, Dec 27: Wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul converted his overnight score of 70 on day one’s play into a fantastic century and lead India to make 245 in their first innings of the first Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

Batting for just the second time in the middle-order in Tests after nine years, Rahul mixed caution and aggression well enough to counter the bounce and swinging ball while pouncing on the loose deliveries, as he took India from 121/6 to a respectable score of 245, through his knock of 101.

In really testing conditions and challenging pitch which was conducive for fast-bowlers, Rahul made his comeback to Test cricket memorable by scoring one of his best hundreds in the format, with the crowd and entire Indian dressing room giving him a standing ovation.

The knock of 101, laced with 14 fours and four sixes, was Rahul’s second century at the venue, the most by any overseas batter in Tests, and also his seventh ton in the format outside of India. Rahul is also the second Indian wicketkeeper-batter to score a hundred in Tests in South Africa after Rishabh Pant made one at Cape Town in January 2022.

Day two began with a 25-minute delay due to wet outfield and light drizzle. Shortly after, Rahul was beaten four consecutive times by Kagiso Rabada, who earned a five-for on day one and had to maintain his patience towards the moving ball. A full and wide delivery from Gerland Coetzee got Rahul a boundary via a square-drive and followed it up by cutting Rabada over third man for four more.

Coetzee again bowled fuller and Rahul was quick to drive past mid-off for four, while Rabada was calmly tucked through leg-side for another boundary. Rahul then pulled Rabada for a six over deep square leg and despite losing Siraj, he got his hundred with a stylish pull over deep mid-wicket for six, with Ravi Shastri saying on-air that it is his best Test century.

After getting his hundred in 133 balls, Rahul couldn’t last long as Nandre Burger cleaned up his middle-stump. But his knock ensured that India got a solid total on board which was a distant possibility at one point.

Brief Scores: India 245 in 67.4 overs (KL Rahul 101, Kagiso Rabada 5-44) against South Africa.

IANS

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