Rohit Sharma’s dream run in Tests continued with the India opener bringing up his third century of the series. Rohit struck a superlative sixth Test ton to guide India to 205/3 after they were struggling at 39/3 in the first session. Post lunch however, Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane seized control of the proceedings with an unbeaten partnership of 166 to play out a wicketless session.
Along the way, Rohit smashed the record for the most sixes by a player in a series, going past West Indies’ Shimron Hetmyer, who’d cleared the rope 15 times in Bangladesh last year. Rohit hit 13 sixes in the first Test in Vizag, and although he was dismissed cheaply in Pune, the opener roared back with four sixes (and counting), the fourth of which fetched him the record.
Rohit became the first India opener since Sunil Gavaskar to score more than two centuries in a Test series. Gavaskar had gone past hundred four times in his maiden Test series against West Indies in 1971. Incidentally, both Rohit and Gavaskar scored their hundreds as openers.
India, from 71/3, scored at over five runs an over in the afternoon session with Rahane giving Rohit company. He hit three boundaries in an over off Rabada shortly into the second session before Rohit took over. With a delightful straight drive, Rohit brought up his half-century. Off his first 55 balls, Rohit had scored only 23 runs, before switching gears to peel off 78 off the next 75. After weathering the Rabada storm initially, Rohit and Rahane took 138 balls to bring up the century-stand.
Rahane brought out some equally attractive strokes and notched up his 21st Test half-century to drive India forward. As rain started to come down with the groundsmen ready to rush in with the covers, Rohit went off Dane Piedt to bring up his century. Rahane joined the fun and cleared the rope off Piedt’s next over as India motored along.
Brief Scores: India 205/3 (Rohit Sharma 108*; Ajinkya Rahane 74*, Kagiso Rabada 2/54) vs South Africa at tea.