India seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami took three wickets each as the tourists bowled South Africa out for 191 to claim victory by 113 runs just after lunch on the fifth day of the first test at Centurion Park on Thursday.
This is also only India’s 4th victory in 22 Tests in South Africa dating back from 1992. It’s only the 2nd time India have taken lead in a Test series in South Africa after a Rahul Dravid-led side went 1-0 up only to lose a 3-Test series 1-2 in 2006-07.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has become the first India captain to register a Test victory in Centurion. Kohli’s side was unsuccessful at the SuperSport Park during the 2018 trip. An MS Dhoni-led side had played in Centurion but they lost by an innings and 25 runs to South Africa in a drawn series.
Notably, India are only the third visiting team after England and Australia to win a Test at the iconic venue, which is known for producing some of the fastest pitches.
South Africa had resumed on 94 for four chasing a venue record 305 for victory, but fell well short of their target on a spicy wicket that had plenty of assistance for the bowlers.
Dean Elgar (77) and Temba Bavuma (35 not out) gave them some hope in the morning session but India’s vaunted pace attack used the conditions superbly and eventually eased their side to a comfortable win.
India achieved their victory despite the entire second day of the test being washed out due to rain and take a 1-0 lead in the three match series.
The second test will be played in Johannesburg from Jan. 3-7, with the third set for Cape Town from Jan. 11-15. India are seeking a first ever series win in South Africa.
England were the first visiting team to win a Test match in Centurion in 2000. It was a dramatic Test match in which both the teams forfeited an innings each to make sure of an enthralling finish. However, it emerged later that Hansie Cronje was involved in match-fixing in the Test wherein 3 days were washed out due to rain.
Australia, meanwhile, won their first-ever Test match in Centurion in 2014, Hundreds from Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh and David Warner helped a Michael Clarke-led team beat the hosts by 281 runs.
Overall, South Africa have played 28 Tests in Centurion, won 21 of them and lost only 3, which includes India’s historic victory at the venue on Thursday.
* Teams to have beaten South Africa in a Centurion Test
.England in 2000
.Australia in 2014
.India in 2021
With the victory in Centurion, India finish a fantastic year in Test cricket wherein they won a Test series in Australia for the 2nd successive time, beat England at home, went to England and took a 2-1 lead in a 5-match incomplete series before outclassing New Zealand at home in a 2-Test series. However, Kohli and his men will regret the missed opportunity in the World Test Championship final wherein they lost to New Zealand.