India set for big win over South Africa in 1st Test at Centurion

Marco Jansen took four wickets in India’s second innings

India reduced South Africa to 94/4 at stumps on the fourth day of the opening Test match being played at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday, having set a huge target of 305 runs to win for the home team. 

India were bowled out for a poor total of 174 in the second innings but a huge lead which they had taken in the first essay of 130 runs came to their rescue in the first Test match for the Freedom Trophy 2021.

Jasprit Bumrah was magnificent with the ball in the ending stages of the fourth day, as he removed South Africa middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen on a delivery that cut in sharply into the batsman, who shouldered his arms to be bowled for 11 from 65 balls, having resisted the Indian bowling attack for a long time in the company of South Africa captain Dean Elgar.

After his disappointing display in the first innings in which he was dismissed in the first over itself, Elgar stood tall to remain unbeaten on 52 from 122 balls, which included 7 boundaries. South Africa No 3 batsman Keegan Petersen played a little but significant innings to showcase his talent as he made 17 from 36 balls, before being caught behind by Rishabh Pant off India seamer Mohammed Siraj.

South Africa had lost an early wicket in the form of opening batsman Aiden Markram, who was dismissed by Mohammad Shami in the second over of their innings. The dismissal of Markram brought Elgar and Pietersen together, who added 33 runs from 76 balls to stabilise the innings for the home team.

Elgar also added 40 runs for the third wicket with Rassie but India were absolutely relentless with the ball despite being made to work hard for their wickets. The stumps were drawn on the fourth day when Bumrah cleaned up South Africa nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj for a 19-ball 8 on a yorker which was unplayable even for a top order batsman.

Earlier in the day, India were bowled out for 174 with Pant top scoring with 34 from as many balls while hitting 6 boundaries. KL Rahul was the second highest run-getter in the Indian innings as he made 23 from 74 balls, but the visiting team’s middle order disappointed once again.

Cheteshwar Pujara fell for 16, Virat Kohli was dismissed for 18 whereas Ajinkya Rahane made 20 as South Africa fast bowlers Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada shared 8 wickets between them. Rabada returned with figures of 17-4-42-4 whereas Jansen took 13.3-4-55-4. Lungi Ngidi, who had taken 6 wickets in the first innings, grabbed a couple of wickets in the second, returning with 10-2-31-2. 

India will also need some favour from the weather as there is forecast of rain on the fifth and final day, as they need 6 more wickets to take a vital 1-0 lead in the three-match series.