Ranchi: It has been a good home series for the Mumbai hitman, Rohit Sharma as he stole the show on the opening day of the ongoing third and final Test between India and South Africa being played at the JSCA Stadium Sports Complex here on with a classy hundred.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane added 185 runs for the 4th wicket as the duo remained unbeaten at Stumps on Day 1. Notably, bad light and rain forced early Stumps as only 58 overs were bowled as play was suspended and then eventually called off after just 58 overs of action.
India began the last Test of the series on the right note as Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat on what was expected to be a Ranchi wicket that is predicted to spin more than the ones that were on offer in Visakhapatnam and Pune. There was a disappointment for Faf du Plessis as South Africa had sent a proxy captain in Temba Bavuma for the toss. It was South Africa's 10th straight loss at the toss in Asia and du Plessis's 7th successive loss away from home.
du Plessis brought about five changes in the side to their playing eleven, began Day 1 on a high as Kagiso Rabada came up with a fiery opening spell in which he removed Mayank Agarwal (10) and Cheteshwar Pujara (0), flaunting his ability to make the red cherry both swing both ways.
India then suffered a huge setback when captain Virat Kohli was dismissed for 12 as early as the 1st hour of play on Saturday. Anrich Nortje, who trapped the India captain in front, became only the 4th bowler to get Kohli as his maiden wicket in Test cricket.
Just when South Africa were looking to put pressure on India, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane joined hands and made sure India headed to lunch without any further hiccups. South Africa finally managed to make an early impact in the Test as they had India at 71 for 3 at lunch.
However, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma put the pressure back on South Africa in the post-lunch session, scoring at over five runs per over in the 1st hour of the 2nd session. Kagiso Rabada, who gave away only 15 runs in his 7-over 1st spell, leaked 30 in 4 overs after the lunch break.
While Ajinkya Rahane got to his fastest Test fifty at home (in 70 balls), Rohit Sharma did not allow the South Africa spinners to settle down. While he played some wristy shots to unsettle debutant spinner George Linde, the India opener took on off-spinner Dane Piedt, hitting him for 4 sixes in the second session.
Rohit Sharma got to his third hundred of the series with a majestic six against Dane Piedt. During the course of his hundred, Rohit also broke the record for most sixes hit in a Test series, going past Shimron Hetymer's tally of 15 from series vs Bangladesh in 2018-19. Rohit also became only the second Indian opener to score 3 or more hundreds in a Test series. The India opener remained unbeaten on 117 and Rahane on 83 before bad light stopped play in the third session.
South Africa would have been disappointed with the way they let things slip away after an impressive first session. On the other hand, India will be hoping to post another massive total and make sure they clinch their 1st-ever series whitewash of South Africa in Tests.
With rain predicted on all five days of the Ranchi Test, all eyes will be on how India pace their 1st innings from hereon. India have 3 spinners in R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and debutant Shahbaz Nadeem and two pacers in Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami to get the job done with the ball.
Virat Kohli's DRS blunders
Virat Kohli was out for 12 on Day 1 after an unsuccessful attempt at overturning the on-field umpire's call on LBW. Anrich Nortje became only the 4th bowler to get Virat Kohli as his maiden wicket in Test cricket. Virat Kohli's struggles to get the Decision Review System (DRS) call right as batsman in Test cricket continues as the India captain failed to make good use of the review in the ongoing 3rd Test between India and South Africa in Ranchi on Saturday. As batsman in Tests, Virat Kohli got the DRS call wrong for the 9th successive time. The last time Kohli got a decision overturned as batsman in Tests was during India's drawn Test against Sri Lanka in November 2017. Virat Kohli was given out for 12 after the India captain was trapped in front in the 16th over on Day 1. Anrich Nortje got the ball to tail into Kohli after the India captain leaned forward with very little foot movement. Umpire Nigel Llong did not take a lot of time before giving it out.
However, Virat Kohli was seemingly convinced that the ball would have missed the leg-stump as the skipper went for the review immediately. However, the replays showed the ball would have gone on to clip the leg-stump. The decision stayed as umpire's call and Kohli had to walk back for 12. India though did not lose the review, considering the replays did not show third reds.
Rohit Sharma's DRS blunders
Rohit Sharma's glorious show with the bat as an opener in Test cricket continued in the 1st innings for India as the flamboyant batsman added yet another feather to his already bulky cap.
After launching Dane Piedt for a massive six-his third of the innings and 16th of the year-in the 43rd over of India's 1st innings, Rohit Sharma surpassed England all-rounder Ben Stokes (15) to become the batsman to hit most number of sixes in 2019. Rohit had hit 13 sixes in the first Test match against South Africa in Visakhapatnam where in he hit twin hundreds. With the majestic six against Dane Piedt, Rohit Sharma also went on to break the world record for the most number of sixes hit by a batsman in a Test series. Rohit (16) went past Shimron Hetmyer's tally of 15 from West Indies' series against Bangladesh in 2018-19. Notably, the Indian record was held by Harbhajan Singh (14) before Rohit went pasthe tally in Ranchi on Saturday.