India defeated South Africa by 113 runs in the first Test match at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Thursday. The win, India's fourth in South Africa, helped Virat Kohli & Co take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Freedom Series.
India set a 305-run target for the Proteas and dismissed the hosts for 191 soon after lunch with Ravichandran Ashwin getting the last two wickets in two balls.
In the process, India became the first Asian side to win a Test match at the venue. In fact, India, who started the year by breaching the 'Fortress Gabba' for back-to-back Test series wins in Australia, ended 2021 by conquering another citadel.
The 1-0 lead also gave India a head start in the series. India have never won a Test series in South Africa. Now, the 2021-22 series is theirs to lose.
Soon after the match, legends of the game, pundits and fans took to social media platforms to hail the historic win.
Batting great Sachin Tendulkar reserved special praise for the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, whose relentless attack helped India dominate the Proteas at their own backyard.
Former head coach Ravi Shastri, who oversaw the team emerge as the most dominant Test side in the world, congratulated his successor Rahul Dravid.
Wohoo Brisbane, Oval, Lord’s and now Centurion…Congratulations @imVkohli, Rahul Dravid and the entire contingent on becoming the first Asian nation to win at Centurion #BoxingDayTest #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/k9zTHE1nWQ— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) December 30, 2021
BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who's recovering from COVID-19 infection, said he's "not surprised by the result at all" and predicted a massive challenge for the hosts in the remaining matches.
Great victory for Team India ..not surprised by the result at all...will be a hard team to beat this series..South africa will have to play out of their skins to do that ..enjoy the new year @bcci— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) December 30, 2021
Legendary opener Virender Sehwag, like many others, revisited India's famous wins in "Dream 2021".
Dream 2021 for Team India in Test Cricket. Gabba, Lord’s , Oval, Centurion and who can forget the amazing fight to draw at Sydney. Wishing a happy and even better 2022 for #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/pLhTVJWOvz— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) December 30, 2021
VVS Laxman, who succeeded Dravid as the head of the National Cricket Academy, hailed the team's "resilience" after the 36* all out in a "brilliant Test Match year".
Began the year with great resilience at Sydney , followed by an incredible win at the Gabba, the Lord's win was special and India end the year with a brilliant win at the Centurion. Has been a brilliant Test Match year for Team India. Congratulations on a wonderful win #INDvsSA pic.twitter.com/NdY18b1GHP— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 30, 2021
Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad credited "exceptional" Shami and KL Rahul's "masterclass" in a special win.
A phenomenal 2021 in Test Match Cricket for #TeamIndia. To become the first Asian Team to won at Centurion, this is a special team and a special win. Shami was exceptional but KL Rahul’s masterclass was a delight and the major difference #IndvsSA pic.twitter.com/IQafGsByta— Venkatesh Prasad (@venkateshprasad) December 30, 2021
And Wasim Jaffer has his memes:
Vice-captain KL Rahul won the player of the match award for his resolute 123 off 260 in the first innings. It laid the foundation for India's win in a traditional Boxing Day Test dominated by pacers.
The two teams will meet in the New Years' Test at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. The match starts January 3.
And #WTC23, #Centurion and #SAvsIND were some of the hashtags trending on Thursday as fans shared their reactions.
The three-match series is part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. India lost to New Zealand in the final of the inaugural edition in a six-day match.