In a disheartening display at Centurion, Team India folded for merely 131 in the second innings of the opening Test, facing a crushing defeat by an innings and 32 runs against South Africa on Thursday. Virat Kohli, with his 76 off 82 deliveries, was the saving grace for the batting order, scoring more than half of India’s run in the second innings as a listless outing on Day 3 summed up the visitor’s performance in the Test.
India found themselves overwhelmed by the relentless pace and caught off guard by the unpredictable bounce on the pitch. This decisive loss has handed South Africa an insurmountable 1-0 lead in the two-match series, effectively shattering India’s aspirations of clinching a Test series victory in South Africa.
Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, made a comeback to the squad for the first time in the series since the World Cup final loss, and it seems the disappointment at not being able to cross the line last month continues to linger on for his side. Rohit, himself, had a forgettable outing in the Test, as he registered scores of 5 and 0 across both innings. A particularly strong team in the longest format, the nature of Indian defeat in the first Test surprised many. Still, Rohit believes it would be unfair to compare the loss against the Proteas with the World Cup final heartbreak.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Rohit stated that each match has its own place and to compare them wouldn’t be prudent. “I can’t compare the World Cup to the Test series. Obviously, winning the Test series here would be awesome, and it is going to be an extraordinary feat for us. But the World Cup is World Cup. In my books, both are separate,” said Rohit.
“A loss is a loss. Losses are quite disappointing, whether it is a World Cup loss or a loss like that (against South Africa). But the weightage both tournaments have is quite different. So, it is hard for me to compare World Cup loss to this.
“You try to move on. You have an opportunity in Cape Town where if we play to our potential, we can turn things around.”
The second Test begins January 3. Following the tour, India will resume their home season with a T20I series against Afghanistan, following a five-Test series against England.