Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande
Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande

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Daryll Cullinan believes that not even India would have anticipated a straightforward win over the hosts in the first Test in Centurion. Virat Kohli’s men steamrolled past the Proteas and pulled off a historic 113-run victory.

Team India made light work of the South Africans on Day 5, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. A disappointing day for the hosts saw them add only 97 runs as they went on to lose at Supersport Park for the very first time against India.

Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for South Africa cricket team.(Getty Images)
Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for the South Africa cricket team. (Getty Images)

Daryll Cullinan Doesn’t Think India Quite Expected A Straightforward Win

While reviewing the encounter, Daryll Cullinan credited India for their ‘deserved’ win. While hinting that India might go with a specialist bowler in the place of Shardul Thakur for the next Test, Daryll Cullinan said that India didn’t play their best game and can improve in the batting department, but deserved winning the 1st Test.

“I don’t think India quite expected it to be this straightforward. We know that India aren’t quite at their best yet. So from a batting perspective, I see improvements. However, I am not convinced about Shardul Thakur. I don’t see him really making a difference with the bat so they might go with a specialist bowler. Well done to India, they deserved their win.”

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

According to Daryll Cullinan, the match-defining phase was India’s first innings with the bat. With the help of a wonderful century by vice-captain KL Rahul, India posted a total of 327 runs and backed it up with some impressive bowling performances.

Daryll Cullinan observed: “I think the most defining part was India’s first innings. They set it up there. The first innings is so important in South Africa. The first two hours gave India immense confidence. Rabada and Ngidi were not at their very best. With all the expectations of pace and bounce, India got through that session and then established 300.”

After being bundled out for 197 and 191 in their respective innings, South Africa lost to India for the very first time at Centurion by a margin of 113 runs. Man of the Match opener KL Rahul scored 123 off 260 balls and was dismissed early on the 3rd day. His innings consisted of 16 fours and 1 six. With this win, the visitors went 1-0 up in the three-match series.

While Mohammed Shami picked eight wickets in the Test, including a brilliant fifer in the first innings, Jasprit Bumrah made five crucial breakthroughs overall after KL Rahul’s knock of 123.

Daryll Cullinan Reckons Covid-19 Helped India And Was Well Prepared As They Arrived Early For Quarantine Norms

The former cricketer-turned-expert also expressed his viewpoint that India’s early arrival in the Rainbow Nation helped them prepare well for the series. Due to the surge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa, India was asked to arrive in the country 10 days before the Boxing Day Test. Daryll Cullinan recognized that the Indian team prepared well for the series and got into the routine of a new venue in a timely manner.

The Kimberly-born batter said: “The lockdown and COVID perhaps helped India. They got here earlier. They spoke of being well prepared. I heard Mr. Gavaskar talk about the 7-8 days required for the body clock, to get into the routine of a new venue and a new country that you visit.”

Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
While referring to India’s late batting collapse in the first innings on Day 3 as Day 2 was washed by rain, Daryll Cullinan urged the Indian batters to value their wickets a little more.

He concluded: “But India played some loose cricket as well in this game. In the first innings, their tail folded woefully. They need to tighten up and value their wickets a lot more.”

The second Test between the two sides is set to begin on January 3 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

India 327 (Rahul 123, Agarwal 60, Ngidi 6-71) and 174 (Pant 34, Rabada 4-42, Jansen 4-55) beat South Africa 197 (Bavuma 52, Shami 5-44) and 191 (Elgar 77, Bumrah 3-50, Shami 3-63) by 113 runs