Bad light yet again forced an early end to another day of Indian dominance as South Africa lost both their openers Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock after India ended their first innings on 497 for 9.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were the stars for the hosts as the former became the first batsman to score a maiden Test double century after scoring double hundreds in ODIs, while the latter broke his three-year jinx to register a century at home.
Rahane strokes his way to an elegant ton
The fourth-wicket duo rescued India in style last afternoon by attacking the spinners, George Linde and Dane Piedt, and adding 134 runs in 29 overs. It was much of the same on the second morning as India piled 133 runs in the first 27 overs of Day 2.
Rahane notched his 11th Test century and his first at home since 2016. The middle-order batsman was in complete control during his 192-ball stay in the middle, managing 17 boundaries and one maximum. This was also the first time in 12 years that two batsman from Mumbai had scored centuries in the same Test match, since Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer scored tons against Bangladesh in 2007.
The 31-year-old has eight centuries for India whilst batting at No5, which is two more than what Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman managed batting at the same position.
Rohit comes into his own as an opener
Rohit started his opening stint in Tests with a bang, scoring twin hundreds at Vizag. On Sunday, he was determined to convert his third century at the top of the order to a double and did so in style. A short of length delivery from Lungi Ngidi was pulled away with disdain over the square leg for six by the 32-year-old to reach his maiden double century. The languid batsman got to his double hundred off 249 balls, having hit 28 boundaries and four maximums.
His innings was wonderfully constructed as he took his time initially before laying into the hapless South African spin-attack. Sharma became the first Indian opener since Virender Sehwag in 2005 to score 500+ runs in a series. In the 12 Tests he has played at home, he averages 99.84.
India’s lower order packs a punch
With two all-rounders and a wicket-keeper to complement a strong top-order, India’s decision to play five specialist batsmen was once again justified at Ranchi. Not only did they recover from a tricky situation at the start of the innings, but they were also able to consolidate after the departure of the top-order batsmen to post a huge total.
Ravindra Jadeja’s patient fifty and an explosive cameo from Umesh Yadav provided a fine end to the innings. Umesh smashed five sixes in his 11-ball stay to record the fastest ever 30+ score in Tests. After the departure of the double centurion, India’s committed lower order added 127 runs in 28 overs.
South Africa rattled in fading light
As light began to decline rapidly, Virat Kohli chose to declare with the team score at 497. India could manage only five overs before stumps was called and still prized out two important wickets in the brief period of play. Indian pacers, Mohammad Shami and Umesh, were able to generate unnerving bounce with the new ball and helped themselves to a wicket each.
Dean Elgar tentatively hung his bat at a delivery that rose sharply, took the edge before being pouched by Wriddhiman Saha. In the very next over, Quinton de Kock was undone by a snorter of a bumper from Umesh. The southpaw couldn’t get his gloves out of the way and ball looped over to the keeper who completed his second catch in two overs.
Faf du Plessis and rookie batsman Zubayr Hamza were the unbeaten batsmen at the crease when the umpire brought the day to a close due to poor visibility.
With South Africa struggling on a crumbling pitch after an Indian opener scored a double ton, this Test seems to be following the same script as the previous Test.
Day 2, Stumps : South Africa 9 for 2 (Shami 1-0, Umesh 1-4) trail India 497 (Rohit 212, Rahane 115, Linde 4-133) by 488 runs
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