On the back of a win at SuperSport Park, Centurion, South Africa’s fortress, India marched into the second Test as the favorites. However, they were struck with an early blow as Virat Kohli was sidelined because of a back injury. KL Rahul became the 34th Indian captain and straight away he won the toss and chose to bat. Rahul and his opening partner Mayank Agarwal were once again off to a good start until Mayank was undone by a ball that kept its line against Marco Jansen.
Once again, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed to make an impact as the former scored three and the latter suffered a golden duck. Hanuma Vihari looked good for his 20 off 53 before he was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada. Ravichandran Ashwin came out with an attacking instinct and scored 46 off just 50 balls. His cameo helped India propel to a score of over 200.
South Africa’s opening stand once again let them down as Aiden Markram fell prey to Mohammed Shami for the third time this series. Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen have evaded all threats to bat till stumps unscathed. Here are a few notable stats from day one:
Six matches, six different captains
This was the sixth match India were playing at the Wanderers in Tests starting from 1992. In all the six matches, India have had different leaders. Mohammad Azharuddin in 1992 was the first to lead India at the Wanderers. Sachin Tendulkar in 1997, Rahul Dravid in 2006, MS Dhoni in 2010, Virat Kohli in 2018 and KL Rahul in 2022 are the other five. Interestingly, none of the other five have lost a match at this venue. But, only two captains have won a match, Dravid in 2006 and Kohli in 2018.
Rahane bags his first golden duck
Rahane, one among the Indian batsmen who is fighting for his spot in the playing XI, hits rock bottom. After averaging 20.8 in 23 innings in 2021, Rahane needed a big score in the absence of Kohli. But, to his worst, he had a horrendous start to the year 2022 as he was dismissed for a golden duck, his first of his Test career. With probably one innings to prove in this Test, Rahane definitely has his career on the line.
Olivier, the 2nd fastest to 50 wickets in terms of balls
After making his Test debut for South Africa in 2017, Duanne Olivier had picked up 48 wickets at an average of 19.3 before he was axed over Koplak deal in 2019. Making his return in the India series, he missed out in the first Test owing to COVID aftermath. In the second Test, Olivier bagged wickets of Pujara, Rahane and Shardul Thakur, where Pujara and Rahane’s wicket came off back-to-back deliveries. With the wicket of Rahane, Olivier became the second quickest to 50 wickets in terms of balls since 1900 in Tests. Vernon Philander had reached the milestone in 1240 balls and Olivier in 1486 balls.
Rahul’s rich vein of form continues
On a much difficult pitch and an improved South African pace line-up, Rahul was at the helm of affairs after he lost his opening partner Mayank, early. Just like the first innings of the first Test, he left balls and took his time to accumulate runs. He batted for 133 balls for his half-century (50) before he was dismissed. Among Asian openers, only Ravi Shastri (139) in 1992 had batted more balls than Rahul’s 133 at the Wanderers in Tests.
His fifty was only the second for an Indian opener at the Wanderers after Nayan Mongia in 1992. In addition, Rahul became the second Indian opener after Gautam Gambhir (3) to score multiple 50+ scores in South Africa. Also, he became the eighth Indian captain to score a 50+ in his debut captaincy innings. The last was Kohli against Australia in Adelaide in 2014 when he scored 115.