Kohli: Historic win in Centurion a perfect start for India

By Sports Desk December 30, 2021

Virat Kohli felt the way India's bowlers wrapped up a historic victory over South Africa in the first Test showed the hallmark of their team as they made a "perfect start" to the three-match series.

The tourists secured a first win at SuperSport Park in the longest format at the third attempt, defeating the Proteas by 113 runs on the final day.

South Africa were all out for 191 just after lunch, Jasprit Bumrah taking 3-50 and Mohammed Shami 3-63 after claiming a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

Mohammed Siraj (2-47) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-18) also struck as India put themselves on course to celebrate a first Test series triumph in South Africa.

India captain Kohli paid tribute to KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who laid the foundations with first-innings knocks of 123 and 60, before praising his bowling attack for finishing off the job.

He said during the post-match presentation: "We got off to the perfect start. Getting the result in four days shows how well we played. It's always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball and in the field.

"A lot of credit goes to Mayank and KL, and we were in pole position at 270 for 3 after day one. We had a lot of belief in our bowling unit to get the job done."

During the match, Shami went past 200 Test wickets for his career, while Bumrah went from bowling the fewest overs in the first innings to the most in the second.

"The way these guys bowl together, it's just a hallmark of our team getting a result from that position," Kohli said.

"Shami is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top three seam bowlers in the world for me. I'm very, very happy for him to get 200 wickets and have an impactful performance."

A battling 77 from home captain Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma's tenacious unbeaten 35 failed to prevent India from drawing first blood.

South Africa failed to make 200 in either innings and Elgar says they must improve with the bat.

He said: "It was always going to be a bit tough. We could have executed our lengths better on day one, but we fought back after lunch, but then we let it slip a little bit after tea.

"Our bowlers were brilliant after that [on day three]. It was great to restrict India. But with bat in hand, we let ourselves down quite a lot. I say the difference was the batting.

"I think we can have a little sit down and strategise going forward. I don't think we did a lot wrong."

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