Wicket-keeper batter KL Rahul stood tall with an unbeaten 105-ball 70 for India as rain brought an abrupt end to Day 1 of the first Test match against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Asked to bat first, India were reduced to 176 for seven at tea with Rahul on 39 not out. The 31-year-old came out all guns blazing in the final session and reached his 14th Test half-century with a six over point off Nandre Burger.

Rahul soon saw Jasprit Bumrah having his stumps shattered, but continued to bat aggressively before the rain interruption.

Earlier in the day, Kagiso Rabada ran through the batting order with five wickets as India found the going tricky.

India were in deep trouble after being reduced to 24-3 in the opening session, but Virat Kohli (38) and Shreyas Iyer (31) joined hands for a 68-run fourth wicket stand to bail them out of trouble.

Both Kohli and Iyer were dropped, while batting at just four.

The duo were, however, removed in quick succession immediately after lunch, thanks to Rabada.

Iyer was bowled by a ball which cut back off the pitch and Kohli was caught behind off a superb delivery which swung away late.

Rabada also removed Ravinchandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur to add to his wicket of captain Rohit Sharma in the opening session and completed yet another five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

South African skipper Temba Bavuma left the field with a strained left hamstring injury before lunch and did not reappear.

A bulletin from the South African dressing room stated that there would be “daily medical evaluations to determine his participation in the match”.

The start of the match by delayed by 30 minutes because of damp patches on a pitch which had been under cover for 40 hours before Tuesday morning because of rain. There was plenty of assistance for the bowlers, but only new cap Nandre Burger offered consistent support to Rabada.

Burger took two early wickets, having Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill caught behind for 17 and two respectively.

With inputs from AFP