'We were not good enough', says Rohit as India crash to stunning innings’ defeat in South Africa

As the hosts cannot lose the series they remain the only country where India have yet to win an away series

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India's Virat Kohli provided any resistance during the first Test match against South Africa. - AFP
India's Virat Kohli provided any resistance during the first Test match against South Africa. - AFP

Published: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 8:25 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 8:26 PM

South Africa shredded through the Indian batting line-up to claim victory by an innings and 32 runs in the first test on Thursday, securing the win inside three days and ensuring their proud home record against the tourists remains intact.

The home attack dismissed India for 131 in their second innings after South Africa had earlier scored 408 for a 163-run first innings lead at Centurion.

Only Virat Kohli provided any resistance in an alarming collapse as debutant Nandre Burger took four wickets, Marco Jansen three and Kagiso Rabada two.

With only two Tests being played, South Africa cannot lose the series and remain the only country where India have yet to win an away series.

"We were not good enough to win. We failed to exploit conditions with the ball," said Sharma. "Batting was poor in the second innings, Virat batted brilliantly but if you have to win Tests, have to come together collectively. We failed to do that.

"Our batters were challenged at different times. We didn't adapt well. We didn't bat well both times which is why we stand here.

"There were some positives. Not a lot when you finish the game inside three days," added Sharma. "KL the way he batted, he showed what you need to do on that kind of pitch.

"Don't want to be too critical on the bowlers, they haven't played much here. We'll regroup and come back. It's important to regroup as quickly as we can, tough from a loss like these but as sportsmen you go through these times. Got to pick ourselves up."

It was a devastating bowling performance, from the first ball of India’s second innings where South Africa could have had a wicket had Aiden Markram, at second slip, not dropped an edge from Yashasvi Jaiswal off Rabada.

But in his next over the fiery paceman bowled India’s captain Rohit Sharma and Jaiswal then gloved a searing delivery from Burger to depart for five.

Shubman Gill led a brief fightback for his beleaguered team as he scored 26 runs off 37 balls. He was bowled by Jansen to leave India reeling at 62-3 at tea.

But while Kohli proved a bulwark, wickets continued to fall at the start of the last session with Shreyas Iyer castled by Jansen (6) and then Burger taking two wickets in as many balls. KL Rahul, who scored a century in the first innings, went cheaply for four as he edged to Markram and Ravichandran Ashwin was caught next ball as hit the ball to gully.

David Bedingham then took a second catch at gully as Shardul Thakur (2) became Rabada’s seventh wicket of the test before Jasprit Bumrah was run out without scoring.

A slight brush on the thumb of his glove saw Mohammed Siraj go next after South Africa had reviewed and Kohli was the last out for 76 runs off 82 balls, brilliantly caught in the deep by a diving Rabada in a fitting end to an exciting contest.

South Africa had begun the day with an 11-run lead on 256-6, with Dean Elgar moving from 140 to 185 before he was dismissed 30 minutes before lunch.

He and Marco Jansen put on 111-run partnership for the sixth wicket, as the pair started the day with positive intent and then fended off some intimidating bowling when India took the second new ball. Jansen was 84 not out, his highest test score.

The second test will be at Newlands in Cape Town from Jan. 3-7.

Brief scores

South Africa v India

Centurion Park, Centurion

South Africa: First innings 408 all out

India: First innings 245 all out

Second innings131 all out

South Africa win by an innings and 32 runs

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