Srinagar: While rest of the India batters struggled against South Africa bowling lead by Kangiso Rabada on the Day 1 of Centurion Test, KL Rahul stood tall with defiant fighting inning that has kept India innings going.
Reduced to 92/4 by the South African quicks on a challenging day one wicket in Centurion, KL Rahul came to the fore to drag India back into the match with an unbeaten 70 that saw India finish the day on 208/8, a position that seemed farfetched at one stage.
India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour lavished praise on opener-turned-middle-order batter KL Rahul for his unbeaten half-century in Centurion on Day One of the Boxing Day Test match against South Africa.
Rahul was put to test by the four-prong South African seam attack but came out with flying colours as he mixed caution with aggression batting alongside the tailenders for a large part of his innings.
“He’s certainly going to be a man of crisis for us I think,” Rathour said at the press conference post the day’s play.
“Every time there are tough situations and most of the times he’s there. He’s the guy who handles those situations really well.
“He was very clear with his game plans, what he wanted to do, defended the right balls, attacked the right balls.”
The conditions saw South Africa opt to bowl first and they made early inroads to expose India’s less experienced middle-order. While Virat Kohli hung around for a while alongside Shreyas Iyer, once the Proteas broke through those two, it was down to Rahul to carry the batting.
“The conditions were tough for the batting. After 3-4 games of cricket, lunch we ended at 91-43 I think. There was a good recovery and a good partnership between the two [Kohli and Iyer],” the batting coach said, adding that Kohli looked in great nick during his stay in the middle.
The batting coach was certain that the visitors had done a reasonable job despite the early collapse. India will resume on 208/8 after rain cut short play on day one. Rahul, unbeaten on 70, has Mohammed Siraj for company with Prasidh Krishna to follow.