The third and final Test at Ranchi between India and South Africa saw another blistering inning by Rohit Sharma. It also marked the debut of Shahbaz Nadeem, the local Jharkhand boy.
India won the toss and elected to bat first as the misfortune of South Africa with toss continues. t was South Africa’s 10th straight loss at the toss in Asia and Faf du Plessis’s 7th successive loss abroad.
Rohit takes the lead yet again as Rahane supports
But it did saw a mini-collapse in the top order as the top three batsmen failed. Mayank Agarwal (10), Virat Kohli (12), and Cheteshwar Pujara (0) went quickly and India’s score was reduced to 39/3.
Rohit Sharma then once again rose to the occasion and continued his good form with the bat on India soil.
Rohit Sharma remained steady amidst the fall of wickets.
He kept the hunt on as his partners at the other end kept leaving the 22 yards at quick succession.
All he wanted an able ally to stabilize the innings and build a partnership. And Ajinkya Rahane came to the rescue.
Both of them were calculative.
They first took the team from the massacre and then started adding runs.
Just when South Africa was looking to put pressure on India, the duo joined hands to avoid any further hiccups.
India went to lunch with 71 for the loss of three wickets.
However, they came back to return the pressure back to South Africa in the post-lunch session.
They went on to score at five runs per over in the first hour of the second session.
Ajinkya Rahane scored his fastest Test fifty at home (in 70 balls) as Rohit Sharma got to his third hundred of the series and six overall in the longer format.
Rohit did not allow the opponent spinners to settle down and played some majestic shots. He reached his hundred with a brilliant six against Dane Piedt. On the way he also broke the record for most sixes hit in a Test series. Rohit went past Shimron Hetymer’s tally of 15 maximums from series against Bangladesh in 2018-19. He hit 13 sixes during the first Test in Vizag and added four so far in this match. Earlier six players hit exactly 14 sixes in a Test series but no one could surpass Hetmyer. 11 of Rohit’s sixes came against the off-spinner Dane Piedt. Rohit also became only the second Indian opener who could score three or more hundred in a Test series.
On the other hand, Rahane kept helping Rohit in dominating the Proteas attack. When the bad light stopped play Rahane was on 83 off 135. Rohit ended the day with 164-ball 117 as both took India to 224/3 in 58 overs at stumps.
South African bowling loses track
While there was hardly any success for South African bowlers after the first hour of the day, Kagiso Rabada had a mixed outing.
Rabada’s devastating spell saw him giving India initial blows and picking up two major wickets within the 9th over of Indian innings.
But the Rohit Sharma came to ruin his planning.
Rabada gave away only 15 runs in his 7-over first spell but unfortunately leaked 30 in four overs after the lunch break.
The debutant George Linde did try to create an impact in the morning session but later ended up by conceding 40 runs in 11 overs.