Opener Rohit Sharma yesterday hit his third century of the series to lead India’s charge after they lost early wickets against South Africa on Day 1 of the third Test.
Sharma, on 117, combined with Ajinkya Rahane, on 83, to put on an unbeaten 185-run stand after the hosts were wobbling at 39-3 following their decision to bat first in Ranchi.
India reached 224-3 when bad light stopped play in the final session. It began to rain as well and no further action was possible.
Sharma and Rahane ensured that India, who have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, denied the opposition bowlers any wickets after lunch.
“The duo batted really well. There was a bit of moisture early on. Wicket was doing something,” India batting coach Vikram Rathour said. “They also bowled in better areas, but recovery was phenomenal. Both of them batted really well and post-lunch the wicket eased a bit. We should catch this.”
Kagiso Rabada got two early scalps in a fiery morning spell and fellow paceman Anrich Nortje claimed his maiden Test wicket after he trapped India skipper Virat Kohli leg before wicket for 12.
Sharma then steadied the innings along with Rahane, who completed his 21st Test fifty.
Sharma played it cool to fifty then soon launched an attack with a barrage of sixes, reaching his sixth Test hundred with his fourth hit over the fence amid loud applause from the home crowd.
“Rabada is one of the better bowlers in the world at the moment. Today he showed why he’s rated so high,” Rathour said in praise of the South African pace spearhead.
“As a batsman, you need to survive those spells, you need to get through those spells and Rohit did very well today again.”
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