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Rahul revels in India’s landmark year

India opener KL Rahul believes 2021 will go down as one of the finest years in Indian cricket history after they claimed another famous away success with a comprehensive 113-run win against South Africa at Centurion Park.

India became the first team from the sub-continent to win a Test at the venue, another display of a new-found grit in foreign conditions after an epic victory over Australia in Brisbane and wins against England at Lord’s and The Oval this year.

Those successes mean taking 2021 in isolation India won 1-0 in Australia, 2-1 in England, and 1-0 in South Africa. They also won home series against England and New Zealand.

The only disappointment at Test level was losing the ICC World Test Championship final to New Zealand in Southampton.

Rahul did not play in that match, nor in Brisbane, but made centuries in the victories at Lord’s and Centurion Park.

“It is a special year for Team India with the kind of achievements we have managed,” Rahul said. “The year has been truly special and will go down as one of the greatest in India’s history, especially Test cricket.

“The victories have taken a lot of hard work and discipline and we are starting to see results.”

India, led by their formidable pace attack, bowled the home side out for 191 just after lunch on the fifth day on Thursday, well short of the host’s victory target of 305.

It is the perfect start for the tourists as they seek a first ever series win in South Africa.

Rahul says harsh lessons from past tours have meant the side are better prepared for this series.

“We sat down as a unit and discussed what were the mistakes we have done in the previous series and what it takes to be successful in South Africa. We have come here better prepared this time round.

“What we did brilliantly in this Test match was that we stayed in the moment, we took it one session at a time and did not think about the pitch, weather or the result. We will continue to do that.”

Rahul scored 123 in the first innings, which laid the platform for India’s win, and was the only batsman in the match to reach three figures. He says it is among the best of his seven Test tons.

“It is right up there in terms of the conditions, the wicket and how challenging it was. It took a lot of guts, determination and discipline to get the century and put my team into a winning position,” he added.

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