Ngidi's Centurion heroics suggest bright future

Lungi Ngidi (Gallo)
Lungi Ngidi (Gallo)

Centurion - When India came out to bat on day four of the second Test against the Proteas, needing 287 for victory, fans of the home side may have been a little on edge. 

Even if it was going to take the biggest run-chase Centurion has ever seen in the fourth innings of a Test, India would always have a chance because of Virat Kohli

The controversial Indian captain was sublime in the first innings, carding a faultless 153 that oozed quality and ultimately kept his side alive in this series. 

Kohli had looked completely at home on this sub-continent-like Centurion strip, and for that reason his wicket was always going to be crucial. 

It could have been Morne Morkel, or Kagiso Rabada or Vernon Philander to claim Kohli's prized scalp when it mattered most. 

Instead, it was 21-year-old Lungi Ngidi who became South Africa's hero of the day.

Ngidi had already removed opener Lokesh Rahul, but when he trapped the majestic Indian captain leg-before for 5, South Africa took a giant leap towards winning this Test match and the series. 

The No 1 side in Test cricket was rocked, and a youngster who has only played nine first-class matches was the reason. 

It is far too early to tell exactly how good Ngidi will be for South Africa, and fitness is an obvious concern, but early signs are certainly encouraging. 

For Proteas opener Dean Elgar, one of Ngidi's major strengths at this early stage is his positive outlook.

"I just think it’s the confidence of the youth," the 30-year-old Elgar said.

"Natural ability will come out irrespective of whatever attitude you bring in, but Lungi has a very unique and special attitude.

"He’s always got a smile on his face.

"I’m very happy for Lungi. He’s been someone that I’ve been following quite closely and I’m his team-mate at the Titans.

"I’ve seen him do special things on the field. He’s a very confident young kid and his talent will only get stronger and stronger."

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