Rahul: 2021 will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history


From a near impossible win at the Gabba with a second-string side to walloping a hapless South Africa in their own backyard, 2021 can easily go down in the annals as “one of the greatest in Indian cricket”, opener KL Rahul asserted on Thursday after his side breached the Centurion fortress with a 113-run win.

Between the start and finish of the year, India also recorded creditable Test victories at the Lord’s and the Oval.

Rahul was an architect in all these milestone wins on more than one occasion. He had scored a hundred in India’s win at the Lord’s.


‘Super special year’

Having set the tone with his first innings hundred, the stand-in vice-captain for the South Africa series summed up the year when the Indian team became the first Asian nation to win a Test at the Centurion.

“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,” Rahul said at the post match press conference.

“It has taken a lot of hardwork and discipline. We have worked really hard as a team for few years,” added Rahul.

The target of 305 on a track with a lot of uneven bounce was always out of question for a South African unit that is low on quality and the script unfolded as per the narrative set.

The home team folded for 191 in 68 overs to give India a 1-0 lead in three-match series.

Such was the command of Indian pacers that they even took rain out of equation despite one full day being lost.

It was pity to see South Africa, that boasted of some great names of the yore, couldn’t even post 200 runs in the both the innings with skipper Dean Elgar’s 77 off 156 balls not exactly being a saving grace.

For India, the four pacers took 18 wickets between them and Ravichandran Ashwin wrapped up the South African tail just after the lunch session to complete formality.

The great dressing room atmosphere has also contributed to a great performance and not to forget the preparation part, said Rahul. “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 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 senior opener said.

Complete performance

Rahul termed it as a complete team performance having set the tone in the first game of the series. “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.

The No. of times India have won four Tests outside Asia in a calendar year (Brisbane, Lord’s, Oval, Centurion). The previous instance was in 2018 (Jo’burg, Nottingham, Adelaide, Melbourne)

Brief scores
India 327 & 174 beat SA 197 & 191 (D Elgar 77, T Bavuma 35*; J Bumrah 3-50, M Shami 3-63, R Ashwin 2-18, M Siraj 2-47) by 113 runs

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