India vs South Africa 1st Test: Team India Report Card
India vs South Africa: India's win at Centurion puts them on course to achieve something that they have never done in the three decades of touring the Rainbow Nation, which is to win a Test series.
Team India started their tour of South Africa in emphatic fashion, registering a comfortable 113-run win in the first Test match at Centurion. It was a complete team performance from India with KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami producing the standout acts. India's win at Centurion puts them on course to achieve something that they have never done in the three decades of touring the Rainbow Nation, which is to win a Test series. Centurion has for years been South Africa's stronghold and to win there is a big bonus for the team. But Virat Kohli and head coach Rahul Dravid would know that sterner tests await the team.
Here is our report card of the India playing XI for the Centurion Test:
Mayank Agarwal - 7/10, Good
Mayank Agarwal was responsible for setting the match up for India along with his opening partner KL Rahul. Mayank showed oodles of talent and technique on a tough pitch to not only survive the sirt session on Day 1 after Virat Kohli opted to bat first, he was also the aggressor in the 117-run opening stand that put India on the road to victory. His performance is a big positive for the team at a time when senior batters in the team are going through a lean patch.
KL Rahul - 9/10, Excellent
KL Rahul showed grit, determination and class to score a brilliant century in the first innings, which laid the foundation of India's victory. He will be disappointed to not have contributed further on Day 3, when play resumed. Rahul's form with the bat will be crucial for the team in the remaining two matches.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 2/10, Very Poor
Cheteshwar Pujara is now living on borrowed time. His form is poor, his technique is questionable and he is unable to score runs regularly and has not scored a Test century for nearly three years. For now, his place in the playing XI is safe but he will be very fortunate if he keeps his place for long in this team.
Virat Kohli - 4/10, Below Average
The time has come for Virat Kohli to understand that he might not be able to dominate bowling attacks anymore. He may show flashes of his brilliance from the past few years occasionally, but he needs to transition to the next phase in his career, which is to become the accumulator. Getting out on 35 and 18 after looking set for a big score shows he is too eager to get runs a nd that is not helping him end his drought. We must remind everyone that Kohli is not out of form, he just needs to understand that time and age catches up with everyone.
Ajinkya Rahane - 4/10, Below Average
Ajinkya Rahane made crucial contributions of 48 and 20 in both innings but his mode of dismissal shows there is something amiss with this player. Rahane has clearly lost his mojo and it is time he makes way for others.
Rishabh Pant - 7/10, Good
Rishabh Pant failed to fire in the first innings, but more than made up by scoring a crucial 34 in the second innings, which pushed India's lead over the 300-run mark. He was brilliant behind the stumps, showing his athletic and catching abilities to bring up a big personal milestone with the gloves in hand.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 6/10, Above Average
Ashwin has forced his way back in the playing XI on pace friendly wicket with his great performances off late and ended the match with the last two South African wickets in the second innings. His assured presence with the bat down the order makes him a must have in the line-up.
Shardul Thakur - 6/10, Above Average
Shardul misfired with the bat in the first Test and picked up two important wickets. He needs to tighten his bowling up as he gives several freebies to batters. His batting ability is what will help him keep his place in the playing XI for the second Test, but he needs to come good lower down the order and make meaningful contributions.
Mohammed Shami - 10/10, Outstanding
It was one of those matches where the ball was coming out perfectly from Shami's hand. He looked in great rhythm and troubled every batter he bowled at. 8 wickets in the match and a personal milestone of 200 Test wickets made this a memorable outing for the paceman.
Jasprit Bumrah - 7/10, Good
Bumrah was lucky to escape a nasty ankle injury in the first innings and showed yet again why he is so important in this team. With South Africa looking to end the fourth day confidently, Bumrah produced two outstanding deliveries to create wickets from nowhere. South African batters must stay prepared to see more fireworks from him.
Mohammed Siraj - 7/10, Good
Siraj played the perfect support cast to Shami and Bumrah and picked up important wickets and also kept it tight from his end. It is wonderful to see him shape up so well at a time when Ishant Sharma is approaching the sunset of his long career.