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In the first Test of the series against South Africa in Centurion, KL Rahul faced severe spells and cloudy skies, but he persevered through it all to score his eighth Test century. He became the first overseas cricket player to reach the three-figure mark in Test cricket at the venue with this, his second such mark. During his innings on the first and second days of the Test, Rahul struck his century in 133 balls, showcasing both his attacking and defensive skills. It’s interesting to note that Rahul is playing in his first Test match as the designated wicketkeeper-batter.

India was 92/4 when Rahul got to the crease; the team had lost the crucial wicket of Shreyas Iyer (31) following a stand of 68 runs. Virat Kohli (38) also left shortly after he arrived, leaving Rahul as the only designated batter in the lineup. Rahul trusted in his abilities and developed important relationships with the tailenders at the Supersport Park, despite the challenging conditions.

For the seventh wicket, he and Rabada shared a partnership of 43 runs until Rabada struck again, dismissing Shardul Thakur for 24, caught by Dean Elgar. Rahul remained a threat to the opposition even after wickets fell, scoring 70 runs in 105 balls to lead India past the 200-run barrier.

KL Rahul appeared to be a man on a mission after rain forced early stumps and a wet outfield further delayed the start of the proceedings on the second day. In his opening over of the day, Kagiso Rabada presented him with early difficulties as he produced a lot of movement off the surface and beat him three times on the outside edge. Rahul was unfazed by these early setbacks and took advantage of balls that were poorly delivered, especially punishing anything that was pitched short and mockingly towards the boundary.

He went from scoring 70 to 95 in six overs, scoring 24 runs off of four boundaries and one six. Rahul, facing Gerald Coetzee, reached the three-figure mark with a six in the 67th over, displaying a fitting end to his eagerly anticipated century. Rahul faced the final delivery of the over with just one wicket left (Siraj was dismissed in the same over). Rahul reached the mark in 133 balls after stand-in captain Dean Elgar decided to bring all fielders close inside the circle. Rahul smashed the delivery for a six towards midwicket.

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