Rohit ton ensures India claim day one honours despite Proteas opening burst
October 19, 2019 | 11:05 PM
by Agencies
Rohit Sharma received sterling support from Ajinkya Rahane, who started off playing a customary attacking knock. - ICC

Ranchi: South Africa claimed three wickets with the new ball, but Rohit Sharma’s third hundred of the series ensured the tale on the first day at Ranchi was another of Indian dominance.

The series was settled by India’s victories in the first two Tests of the series, but with World Test Championship points to play for, South Africa would have been desperate to leave India with something, and started like a side with a point to prove.

Kagiso Rabada, as he so often is, was destructive early on, swinging one away to nick off Mayank Agarwal and nipping one back in to pin Cheteshwar Pujara leg-before to leave the hosts 16/2 in the ninth over.

Virat Kohli took guard and seemed to have maintained his second-Test form, when he made an unbeaten 254*, whipping stylishly to fine leg twice in the space of four balls to get off the mark. But a special piece of bowling undid him, Anrich Nortje moving the ball away twice before shaping one back in, beating Kohli on the inside edge and striking him on the pad. India’s captain’s review was struck down, and Nortje had a prize scalp for his maiden Test wicket.

All the while Rohit watched from the other end, in form after his twin tons in the opening game, and hungry for more after missing out in the second Test. With the ball moving around and wickets tumbling, this represented his greatest challenge since his promotion to opening the batting, and he responded in superb style.

He was circumspect at first, creeping to 17 from his first 49 balls, and it took an amount of risk for him to get moving, with an aerial flick through midwicket and a top-edged pull for six getting him going before Lunch, but thereafter he was supreme, finishing on 117 off 164 balls, with four sixes and 14 fours.

He received sterling support from Ajinkya Rahane, who started off playing a customary attacking knock, racing to 40 from 42 balls and almost catching Rohit, before consolidating, and reaching an early stumps on 83 not out of 135 balls. Play will restart half an hour early on the second day, with Rahane within 17 runs of a first home Test hundred in over three years, and India, once again, in a position of dominance.

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