Statsman: K.L. Rahul's feat as Test opener

K. L. Rahul's 123 in Centurion was the highest score by an Indian Test opener in South Africa.

KL Rahul scored a hundred in the first Test against South Africa at Centurion.   -  GETTY IMAGES

2 The number of three-figure Test scores by Indian openers in South Africa. K. L. Rahul's 123 in Centurion was also the highest score by an Indian Test opener in South Africa. For the record, since SA's return to Test cricket in 1992, the highest score by a visiting opening batter in South Africa is the unbeaten 185 by Michael Atherton in Johannesburg in December 1995.

Highest individual Test scores by Indian openers in South Africa

RunsBatterM InnsVenueMonth, YearResultBat position #
123K. L. Rahul1CenturionDec 2021W1
116Wasim Jaffer1Cape TownJan 2007L1
97Murali Vijay1DurbanDec 2013L2
93Gautam Gambhir2Cape TownJan 2011D1
80Gautam Gambhir3CenturionDec 2010L1


5 The number of three-figure Test scores registered by K. L. Rahul as a Test opener outside Asia. Only Sunil Gavaskar has more centuries as an opener outside Asia for India. New Zealand and Zimbabwe are now the only two countries not in his list. However, he is yet to appear in any Tests in these two nations.

Most Test centuries by Indian openers outside Asia

100sOpenerMatInnsHS50s EngAusWISANZ
15Sunil Gavaskar458122115 2571
5KL Rahul20351582 2111
4Virender Sehwag33591957 12100
3Vinoo Mankad11191842 120
3Ravi Shastri12192061 21000


Note: Since 2015, Indian openers have registered six centuries in Tests outside Asia. Rahul has to his credit five of these centuries. Rohit Sharma (127 at the Oval in September 2021) is only other Indian opener to make a Test century outside Asia.


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242 The number of balls (40.2 overs) faced by the Indian opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and K. L. Rahul in the first innings in Centurion. This is now the longest faced by any visiting opening pair in South Africa since the Aussie openers Phil Hughes and Simon Katich put on 184 runs in 43.5 overs (263 balls) in Durban in March 2009.


Longest opening stands in South Africa by visiting sides since 2010

BallsOversPartnershipOpening pairVenueStart DateInnsResult
24240.2117Mayank Agarwal, K. L. Rahul (Ind)CenturionDec 26, 20211Won
21936.3101Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss (Eng)Cape TownJan 3, 20104Drawn
21936.3174Phil Hughes, Shane Watson (Aus)JohannesburgNov 17, 20112Won
19632.487Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva (SL)Port ElizabethDec 26, 20164Lost
19632.4107Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley (Eng)JohannesburgJan 24, 20201Won


6 The number of Indian wicketkeepers to claim 100 dismissals in Test cricket. Rishabh Pant, in the first innings in Centurion, became the latest to join the list for India. In reaching this landmark in his 26th Test match, Pant became the quickest to reach the 100th dismissal mark by a wicketkeeper for India in Tests. Both M. S. Dhoni and Wriddhiman Saha took 10 Tests more and achieved their 100th dismissal in 36 Tests.


Fewest Tests to reach 100 dismissals in Test cricket by Indian wicketkeepers

TestsWicket-eeperDismCtStAchieved inAgainstVenueResult    
Final Test Career tally
26Rishabh Pant101938Dec 2021SACenturionWon10696826
36MS Dhoni1028418Mar 2009NZHamiltonWon2942563890
36Wriddihman Saha1019011Nov 2019BanKolkataWon104921239
39Kiran More1008616Oct 1992ZimHarareDrawn1301102049
41Nayan Mongia100937Feb 2000SAMumbai WSLost10799844
42Syed Kirmani1007723Feb 1980EngMumbai WSLost1981603888

Note: Syed Kirmani was the first wicketkeeper to achieve the 100-dismissals mark for India.


11 The number of Indian bowlers to claim 200 or more Test wickets. Mohd Shami became the latest to do so in the Centurion Test match. He also became the fifth Indian pacer to achieve this landmark. Among Indian pacers, Shami by doing so in his 55th Test match, is the third quickest after Kapil Dev (50) and Javagal Srinath (54). However, in terms of balls, Shami is the quickest Indian to reach this landmark. He needed fewest number of balls — 9896 — to reach this landmark. The previous quickest R. Ashwin achieved his 200th wicket landmark off his 10248th ball.

Fewest Test matches to reach 200 Test wickets among Indian pacemen

Tests ReqdBowlerAchieved onBallsWktsAveS/RAge
50Kapil DevMar 15, 19831106620029.3355.3324y-68d
54J SrinathNov 5, 20011247620229.9061.7632y-66d
55Mohd ShamiDec 28, 2021989720027.1049.4931y-116d
63Zaheer KhanMar 20, 20091253320034.2862.6730y-164d
65Ishant SharmaSep 1, 20151304720036.5165.2426y-364d

3 The number of Test defeats for South Africa at Centurion Park. In 27 Test matches at this venue, the home side has won 21 (Win% 77.78), lost three and drawn three. It was South Africa's first defeat at this venue after winning seven consecutive Test matches from December 2014 to December 2020. Australia was the last side, before India, to win a Test here in February 2014, when it won by 281 runs.

READ: Bumrah is India's top wicket-taker

South Africa's three defeats at Centurion Park

Date of lossResultHome captainVisiting captain
January 18, 2000England won by 2 wickets+Hansie CronjeNasser Hussain
February 15, 2014Australia won by 281 runsGraeme SmithMichael Clarke
December 30, 2021India won by 113 runsDean ElgarVirat Kohli

Note:+ this was the infamous Test match when both sides forfeited their middle innings


4 The number of Test victories for India in Boxing Day Test matches. This was its third consecutive Test win in such matches. India had previously won its 2018 and 2020 Boxing Day Tests in Melbourne. Despite winning its last three Boxing Day Tests, India has a rather dismal record since its first such Test match in 1985. In 17 Tests, India has won just 4, but lost 10 and drew 3 (%win 23.53).


India's four Boxing Day Test match victories

Date of victoryVenueResultsIndian captain
December 29, 2010DurbanWon by 87 runsM. S. Dhoni
December 30, 2018MelbourneWon by 137 runsVirat Kohli
December 29, 2020MelbourneWon by 8 wicketsAjinkya Rahane
December 30, 2021CenturionWon by 113 runsVirat Kohli


8 The number of Test victories registered by Team India in the calendar year 2021. This is now the joint second-most it had achieved in a single year. In 2010 too, India had eight Test wins to its credit. However, its best is the nine Test wins achieved in 2016. Incidentally, four Test wins in 2021 have come outside Asia, which equals its best in 2018.

Most Test victories for India in a single calendar year



All records are correct and updated until the end of the Centurion Test on Dec 30, 2021

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