Although it looked to be a bold decision when Virat Kohli opted to bat first after winning the toss in the first Test match of the three-match series against South Africa in Centurion. His openers backed up their skipper's call and stitched a century partnership for the first wicket. By the time, Mayank Agarwal departed for a well-made 60, the stage had already been set for a solid first innings total. However, it was KL Rahul who made sure that he batted through the day, bring up a Test match hundred and send a sense of calm at the end of the day's play in the Indian dressing room.
Unbeaten at 122, Rahul became only the second India opener to score a hundred in South Africa. The first and the only other name on the list is that of Wasim Jaffer. The former cricketer who is known for his hilarious memes on social media welcomed Rahul with a rib-tickling meme, perhaps intentionally from the Bollywood movie titled "Welcome."
"Test hundred in SA @klrahul11 ? very well played ?? #SAvIND," Jaffer wrote along with the meme.
Here is his post:
Following Rahul's innings, several former cricketers hailed his knock.
"He has been so so good across all format @klrahul11 brilliant 100 in difficult condition! #INDvsSA" tweeted Irfan Pathan.
"Well played @klrahul11 Top class ???? @BCCI #INDvsSA," Harbhajan Singh posted.
"Respect conditions, play late, stride forward, weight transfer, dot balls, drives ... kl rahul is holding online batting class please watch… what a Fantastic knockClapping hands signClapping hands signClapping hands sign @klrahul11 #INDvsSA," wrote Mohammed Kaif.
"As a colleague of mine would say: "Always a pleasure, never a chore" watching a K L Rahul century. #Secure," Ian Bishop stated.
Rahul-Mayank also join elite list of Indian openers
Other than Rahul's century, the Indian opening pair of Rahul and Mayank also joined an elite list as they became just the third Indian duo to put up over hundred runs for the opening wicket in South Africa. Prior to them, Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik had put on 153 in the Cape Town Test in 2007 and Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had stitched 137-runs in the Centurion Test in 2010.
The feat is also important since this was the second instance in 52 innings at the SuperSport Park that a touring opening duo has brought up a 100-run stand in a Test match.