India's wait for a series win in South Africa goes on as they are routed in first Test

Proteas skittle tourists to win by an innings and 32 runs in Centurion

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates after catching out India's Virat Kohli to win the match. Reuters
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India's dream of winning a Test series in South Africa for the first time was ended inside three days as they crashed to an innings-and-32-run defeat at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.

With the series consisting of only two matches they can at best earn a share of the honours if they win the second Test starting in Cape Town on Wednesday.

India crashed to 131 all out in their second innings after conceding a 163-run first innings lead. A day which started with the match evenly poised turned into a rout.

Dean Elgar (185) and Marco Jansen (84 not out) transformed a slender 11-run lead for South Africa at the start of play into a strong position.

They shared a 111-run sixth wicket partnership as South Africa took an overnight 256 for five to 408 all out despite the absence of injured captain Temba Bavuma.

Virat Kohli hit an aggressive 76 for India before he was last man out but the rest of the batting collapsed against South Africa's fast bowlers on a lively pitch.

The second innings lasted just 34.1 overs. Kohli hit 12 fours and a six in an 82-ball innings. Shubman Gill made 26 but no other batsman scored more than six.

Kagiso Rabada set the tone for South Africa, bowling India captain Rohit Sharma for a duck with a superb delivery which deviated off the pitch to hit the off stump.

Rabada, who took five for 59 in the first innings, took two for 32 and finished the match with an outstanding diving catch at long-on to dismiss Kohli off Jansen, who took three for 36.

Left-arm fast bowler Nandre Burger completed an impressive debut Test by taking four for 33, giving him match figures of seven for 83.

Three catches went down in the slip cordon but none proved expensive.

Elgar was named man of the match in his final Test on his home ground. He has announced he will retire from international cricket after the second Test.

"It was pretty special for me," he said."It (the pitch) was pretty juicy. You've got to keep it nice and simple batting in Tests. Focus on the ball, play straight and play late."

It was a policy which India were unable to follow, although Sharma paid tribute to KL Rahul for his "brilliant" century in the first innings.

He said: “Honestly, look, we're not good enough to win this match. I thought we got decent runs on the board on that track in the first innings, KL Rahul did brilliantly to get us that century. But then we failed to exploit the conditions with the ball.

“Then again, we didn't show up with the bat today as well. Our batting was poor in the second innings. If you want to win Test matches, you’ve got to come together collectively. But we failed to do that.”

Updated: December 28, 2023, 4:58 PM