After registering a 113-run victory in the first Test of three-match series against South Africa in Centurion, KL Rahul has stated that 2021 will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history. Rahul was adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar batting performance in the match.
South Africa did not have a great start to Day 5 as the Indian bowling unit displayed a brilliant performance to bundle out the hosts for a paltry total of 191 in the final innings of the series opener. The Indian pacers put on a clinical display against the South Africa batsmen, and restricted them under 200 runs in both innings of the Boxing Day Test. With the win in the first fixture, India also registered their first-ever Test victory in Centurion, and went up 1-0 in the three-match series.
Mohammed Shami was the pick of the bowlers for India, as he scalped five and three wickets in the first and second innings respectively. Jasprit Bumrah ended with five wickets from the match, while Mohammed Siraj scalped three and Shardul Thakur clinched two wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin, who did not clinch any wicket from the first innings, scalped two wickets in his successive deliveries in the 68th over, and helped India to win the fixture before Tea on Day 5.
India had a great start to their first innings batting, as KL Rahul led from the front with a brilliant century, and the right-hander also stitched up crucial partnerships with his fellow batsmen. The stand-in vice-captain of Team India scored 123 runs in the first innings, and brought up his seventh Test century. Earlier during the India tour of England, Rahul had scored a hundred, and helped India to win the match at the Lord's. The right-hander also played a crucial role in India's historic Test victories in the 2021 calendar year. Team India's win in the famous Gabba Test with a second-string side boosted the confidence of the squad.
Meanwhile, Rahul stated that 2021 will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history.
"It's a super super special year for team India. The kind of achievements that we have gotten this year has been truly special. I think it will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history. It has taken a lot of hardwork and discipline. We have worked really hard as a team for few years," Rahul said at the post match press conference.
The stand-in vice-captain of Team India further reckoned that the dressing atmosphere is great, and it has played a crucial role in the Centurion Test victory.
"Yes, the dressing room atmosphere is amazing at the moment. It is a great Test victory. No Asian team has come here and won in Centurion and (it speaks of) kind of work we have put in, in the last two weeks leading up to this Test match. We worked really hard as a team and we really had a lot of fun at training and at practice," the Indian opener said.
Rahul asserted that the complete team performance resulted in the historic Test victory in Centurion.
"To go out there in the first game of the series and put up a performance like that which is a complete team performance, it makes us happy. We can enjoy this victory for a day and get back to training and start focussing on the next Test match," said Rahul.