As he showed in the English summer, the noticeable difference in Rahul’s lofts was his discipline around the canal and his moderate footwork.

Published: December 27, 2021 9:24 AM |

Last updated: December 27, 2021 9:24 AM

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South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi, right, reacts as India’s KL Rahul runs between wickets during the test cricket match between South Africa and India at Centurion Park in Pretoria. (Photo | AP)

CHENNAI: Boxing Day Tests were a mixed experience for KL Rahul. In 2014 he received his India Cap in Melbourne. Four years later, he saw him warm up the bench while friend Mayank Agarwal took his place in the same place.

In 2021, Rahul continued his renaissance in red ball cricket with his seventh test-century, what it enabled India to start the South Africa tour on a sovereign note like never before, as they were in stumps at Centurion on Sunday 272-3.

For a player destined for big things, Rahul now appears a good way to live up to the bill. Not the opener of choice when the testing streak started in England, an injury to Shubman Gill gave him an opening and Rahul grabbed it with both hands.

As he showed in the English summer, the noticeable difference in Rahul’s punches was his discipline around the canal and his moderate footwork, which enabled him to play as close to the body as possible.

These characteristics were also evident at Centurion, where he was accompanied by Agarwal (60) to the visitors in the first session got off to a good start with 83 runs and then in the second session with Virat Kohli (35) and Ajinkya Rahane (40 eyelashes).

Winning the throw and beating first, given the meager patch of the Indian middle order, the responsibility for a good start lay with the opening games. And from the moment they walked in, the Karnataka duo looked like they were up to the challenge.

Centurion isn’t the easiest place to open. As if the spongy jump wasn’t enough, the rain had left some moisture on the pitch overnight, which made it even more difficult. All it took was discipline and ruthlessness to punish the bad guys.

“The plan was to show discipline. Just play those supplies on tree stumps and leave as much behind as you can, “said Agarwal.

” We had good training sessions where we got a feel for the conditions and situations we would face. He (head coach Rahul Dravid) knew that when you play in South Africa, you don’t always look good, but it’s about sticking to plans and waiting for scoring opportunities. I’m really glad we did well in the first session, “he said.

Your job was made easier by a South African attack that looked rusty. After Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi only took five tests this year, they needed time to find rhythm and pace.

In the first session and even at the beginning of the second they were only traveling in the middle range of 130 km / h. With this in mind, the host’s decision, Duanne Olivier, the leading wicket taker raised her eyebrows at her four day event to omit this year.

It didn’t help that Wiaan Mulder and debutant Marco Jansen were down too, all India had to do was time in the middle Because as soon as the new ball lost its shine, there were runs to take away, and the openers made sure a strong foundation was laid by sewing 117 runs together.

Though India Agarwal and Pujara in one After losing the following balls to Ngidi, Rahul, who was now completely sedentary, made sure that he was turned into a barrel. In the middle he showed a wonderful stance.

When the ball bounced off the surface and found its edge, loose hands meant it wouldn’t run out on the outfield players. Even by the time he reached his centenary, the partying was measured, aware of the task ahead.

Kohli looked handsome during his knock, only to undo it by chasing a delivery way over the stump.

Rahane showed no nervousness under pressure and played crisp drives in a confidence-inspiring stay when India ended the day on a strong note.

India, first innings: Rahul 122 (batting), Agarwal lbw Ngidi 60 , Pujara c Petersen b Ngidi 0, Kohli c Mulder b Ngidi 35, Rahane 40 (batting) Extras (b 4, lb 4, nb 7) Total (3 wickets, 90 overs) 272/3 FOW: 1-117, 2- 117, 3-199.

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