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Rain covers are seen on the pitch ahead of the second day of the first Test between South Africa and India at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Monday. Image Credit: AFP

Centurion: Rain delayed the start of day two of the first Test between South Africa and India at Centurion Park on Monday, denying the visitors the chance to build on their impressive first innings total of 272 for three.

Overnight rain on the Highveld continued into the morning and intermittent showers are forecast throughout the day.

India opener KL Rahul was superb on Sunday as he reached the close unbeaten on 122 and when play resumes will be joined at the crease by Ajinkya Rahane after his unbeaten 40.

On Sunday, Rahul, who scored his seventh career century, and Mayank Agarwal (60) drew the sting from the South African attack with an opening stand of 117 before fast bowler Lungi Ngidi dismissed Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara off successive deliveries.

It was only a temporary setback for the tourists, however as Rahul shared a third-wicket partnership of 82 with Kohli (35) before he and Ajinkya Rahane added an unbroken 73 for the fourth wicket.

Rahul provided a masterpiece of concentration and shot selection, marred only by a difficult chance to long leg off Wiaan Mulder when he was on 60. He faced 248 balls and hit 17 fours and a six.

Rahane, whose place in the team had been questioned after a run of poor form, struck the ball crisply in making an unbeaten 40 off 81 balls with eight fours.

Ngidi was the only successful bowler, taking three for 45.

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Indian opener KL Rahul plays a backfoot square drive during his unbeaten century on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Kohli said at the toss that India’s win against South Africa in the third Test in Johannesburg on their previous tour in 2017/18 had given them the confidence of knowing they could win away from home.

Although they lost that series 2-1, India went on to achieve victories in Australia and England, leaving South Africa as the only major cricket-playing nation where they have not yet triumphed.

It was a chastening day for South Africa’s fast bowlers in conditions, which should have been in their favour.

Already without strike bowler Anrich Nortje, out for the series with a hip injury, South Africa surprisingly gave a first cap to tall left-arm fast bowler Marco Jansen ahead of Duanne Olivier, the leading wicket-taker in domestic first-class cricket this season.

Jansen, 21, created the only chance of the morning, having Agarwal dropped by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock with his score on 36 and the total 52. He produced some threatening deliveries but also sent down some loose balls which were punished.

The South Africa team wore black armbands in honour of anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu, described as the country’s moral compass, who died on Sunday aged 90. Both teams also held a minute’s silence.