Twitter Reactions: KL Rahul's gritty half century turns as a ray of hope in India's dismal batting show on opening day

Twitter Reactions: KL Rahul’s gritty half century turns as a ray of hope in India’s dismal batting show on opening day

KL Rahul stood up and played the role of the ‘lone ranger’ for India.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

It was a day when the ball dominated bat. At the close of play on Day 1, the South African scorecard read 35/1. The Proteas still trial the Indian total by 167 runs. Aiden Markram was caught plumb in front of the stumps by Mohammed Shami for just 7, as his poor run in the series continued.

But, after the departure of Markram, Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen played out 14.1 overs to prevent further damage. While Elgar is unbeaten on 11 having played out 57 deliveries, Petersen has helped himself to 14*.

Gritty KL Rahul keeps South Africa at bay

For India, KL Rahul once again stood up and played the role of the ‘lone ranger’. After deciding to bat first, the Indian opening duo of Rahul and Mayank Agarwal put on a partnership of 36 runs. Agarwal looked good in his 37-ball stay out in the middle, but his innings came to an end in the 15th over of the Indian innings.

Marco Jansen bowled a delivery that pitched on a good length and came back a tad, Agarwal went for the drive, but only managed to nick the ball to the keeper. Cheteshwar Pujara struggled to get going in his 33-ball stay and contributed just 3 runs.

Duanne Olivier bowled a good length delivery that reared up after pitching, catching Pujara off guard. Pujara tried to defend it, but the ball took the leading edge of his blade and the fielder at backward point completed the catch. There was more misery for the Indian side as the next man who came in, Ajinkya Rahane lasted just 1 ball.

Rahane poked at a short delivery from Duanne Olivier that came in, the ball took the outside edge and Keegan Petersen gleefully accepted the offering in the slip cordon.

Hanuma Vihari and Rahul then steadied the ship with a 42-run stand, but just when things were getting back on track, Vihari was snaffled by Rabada.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul kept the South African bowlers at bay. Lungi Ngidi beat his bat a number of times, but Rahul hung on. He played 133 deliveries, was patient out in the middle, and scored a superb half-century for his side. He was severe on any loose delivery on offer, but at the same time respected the good deliveries that came his way. Rahul’s innings came to an end in the 46th over of the Indian innings.

Ravichandran Ashwin scores a quick 46 to take India past 200

Rahul’s patience finally gave way and he went for the hook shot off Jansen and holed out to deep square leg. Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur then departed in quick succession, and South Africa were all over India.

And, that was when Ravichandran Ashwin produced a superb counterattack with the willow. The right-hander scored a quickfire 46 and scored them at a strike rate of 92.00 as India were bowled out for 202. Also, Indian skipper Virat Kohli was ruled out of the Test match with a back spasm.

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