Rahul masterclass puts India in charge of first Test

Rahul, who averaged 7.50 in four innings with a top score of 16 in South Africa
three years ago, reached his ton off 218 balls as he toyed with a blunt home
bowling attack on a slow wicket.

He will
resume on the second morning with Ajinkya Rahane (40 not out), whose place in
the side had been under scrutiny but played some wonderful shots to share an
unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 73.

Ragged South
Africa looked like a side who have not played Test cricket since June, with a
number of their players having had no red-ball cricket at any level in the last
six months.

They bowled
too short on a wicket providing little assistance and did not attack the stumps
enough after India had won the toss and elected to bat in overcast conditions.

The decision
to select 21-year-old debutant left-arm seamer Marco Jansen (0-61) over the
more experienced, and in-form, Duanne Olivier raised eyebrows too.

The home
side had to wait until the second session to make a breakthrough as India
opener Mayank Agarwal (60) was trapped lbw by Lungi Ngidi (3-45) after a
117-run opening partnership with Rahul.

Agarwal left
the field vigorously shaking his head after a review from South Africa
suggested the delivery was striking the top of leg stump.

waiting 242 deliveries for their first wicket, the home side got with the next
ball when Cheteshwar Pujara pushed forward to Ngidi and was caught off the
glove and thigh-pad by Keegan Petersen at short leg.

Pujara had
only been out first ball once before in his 92-Test career – run out by Ngidi
at Centurion Park in 2018.

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Captain Virat
Kohli (35) is now without a Test century in 24 innings but looked in good touch
before he chased a wide delivery from Ngidi and was caught by Wiaan Mulder at
first slip.

The touring
side are hoping to secure a first Test series win in South Africa with matches
to follow in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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