Before the start of the Vizag Test, all eyes were on Rohit Sharma and his new slot which would be opening the Test batting for India. However, Rohit answered the call brilliantly as he negotiated the likes of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and the spinners brilliantly by notvhing up his 11th fifty and his first as an opener. Mayank Agarwal also gave him good support and the dup have stitched a partnership which is near 100. South Africa's bowlers had their moments but they have been delfated by this partnership.
15:41 hrs IST: Play has been called off due to rain. India are 202/0 and play will start 30 minutes earlier in order to make up for the lost time.
15:02 hrs IST: The whole outfield is covered now. It is raining steadily. The blue is in the outfield with huge blue sheets covering the outfield. It does not look good.
14:49 hrs IST: It is raining heavily in Vizag. For the game to have any chance of beginning today, it must stop raining ideally by 3:45 or 4:00 PM. The ground's drainage is good but one feels that a restart chances are pretty slim.
14:16 hrs IST: Live visuals from the ground show that the covers are coming out and majority of the outfield is covered. The rain is coming and we might have a delayed start to the final session.
14:08 hrs IST: The players are walking off. It has gotten overcast and there is rain in the horizon. However, the session has all been about Rohit Sharma and his brilliance. India are 202/0 and one hopes that the teams come out after the tea break.
14:01 hrs IST: Rohit smashes two boundaries off Philander while Agarwal steers Maharaj to the third man fence. The 200-run opening partnership is up between these two and South Africa continue to struggle in Vizag. India are 202/0.
13:56 hrs IST: Rohit sweeps Maharaj for a big six, his fifth in the innings and South Africa are bleeding runs in the second session. India are 190/0 and going strongly.
13:45 hrs IST: CENTURY! Brilliant, brilliant from Rohit Sharma. Finally, he has arrived on the Test scene. He was touted as the next Virender Sehwag and he certainly has shown plenty of swag. What an effort! India 179/0 and Rohit hits his fourth century and first as opener.
13:39 hrs IST: Rohit steers a flatter delivery from Keshav Maharaj to come closer to his century. Rohit on 97 and India are 174/0.
13:29 hrs IST: Rohit is on an absolute roll. He blasts two consecutive sixes off Dane Piedt to move into the 90s. This will be a magnificent knock if Rohit does it. India 163/0.
13:18 hrs IST: South Africa are simply having no answers as they work hard to break this partnership. Agarwal and Rohit have dug in and only a loose shot can end their innings. India are 141/0.
13:05 hrs IST: Rohit continues to find the boundries at will. India are scoring at over three runs an over. Can he get a 100 and make the opener's slot his own? India are 136/0.
12:42 hrs IST: Rohit continues to bat freely and he steers Kagiso Rabada to the third man region. South Africa are trying hard for the breakthrough but it is not happening. India are 117/0.
12:38 hrs IST: SIX! Brilliant stuff from Mayank Agarwal as he notches up his fourth fifty with an inside out six off Keshav Maharaj. This is brilliant stuff from both the openers and India are 111/0.
12:33 hrs IST: The opening partnership between Rohit and Agarwal has gone past 100 and it is notched up in style with Agarwal flicking a full ball from Vernon Philander to the widish long on region. India are 103/0 and South Africa's pain continue.
12:18 hrs IST: Rohit begins the session in style by creaming Keshav Maharaj to the cover boundary and India are 99/0.
11:37 hrs IST: That is lunch on day 1 and India are firmly on top. Rohit's 11th fifty and his first as an opener has given India plenty to smile while Mayank Agarwal is in good touch.
11:30 hrs IST: Brilliant from Rohit Sharma as he notches up his 11th fifty! However, he almost perishes in the process. Senuran Muthusamy bowls a flatter delivery on leg stump, Rohit attempts the sweep but gets a top edge that eludes fine leg and goes to the boundary. India are 91/0.
11:11 hrs IST: Rohit nears a fifty by blasting a six off Dane Piedt. His second in the innings and India are 79/0.
11:06 hrs IST: Mayank Agarwal is now looking to dominate and he thumps Dane Piedt down the ground for a big six. India are making superb progress and are 68/0.
10:56 hrs IST: The fifty-run partnership is up between Rohit and Agarwal and the stand is brought up in style as Rohit launches Keshav Maharaj over long on for the first six of the game and the series. India are 53/0.
10:45 hrs IST: Agarwal is looking in solid touch as he lunges forward and drives Keshav Maharaj to the deep backward point fence. That had shades of Rahul Dravid in it. India are 44/0.
10:33 hrs IST: Agarwal pierces the gap by driving a full ball from Vernon Philander. Both he and Rohit are rotating the strike as India reach 37/0. The first hour had belonged to India.
10:26 hrs IST: Maharaj floats a flighted delivery on the stumps but Agarwal gets to the pitch of the ball and drills it past mid on for a boundary. India are surviving the first hour well and are 30/0.
10:23 hrs IST: Rabada is trying short. He is trying full but Rohit is upto the task. He unfurls the pull and uses the straight drive but the timing is not proper. India are 26/0.
10:19 hrs IST: Rabada is touching 150 kmph while Maharaj is bowling with discipline. India are not getting easy runs and they remain on 22/0.
10:10 hrs IST: Keshav Maharaj, the left-arm spinner, is into the attack and he is getting some zip and drift off this wicket. Agarwal and Rohit hang in as India reach 22/0.
09:58 hrs IST: After two back-to-back maiden overs, Rabada and Philander are settling into a nice rhythm. Agarwal gets a full ball to deep point for a couple but he survives couple of balls later by getting a leading edge that goes past gully and slip. India are 15/0.
09:45 hrs IST: Superb over from Vernon Philander. Some late outswing and stump-to-stump bowling. Agarwal gets an inside edge to square leg as the ball scoots through off the surface. However, Rohit gets beaten twice on the outswing as India reach 9/0.
09:40 hrs IST: The first hour of this pulsating battle is won by Rohit Sharma. Rabada is getting swing but it is too wide of off stump. Rohit steers one wide delivery to the third man fence and India are 8/0. This is a flat wicket.
09:36 hrs IST: The pitch is dry and dead. Not much of bounce. Vernon Philander is getting some swing but Mayank Agarwal gets going by punishing a full ball to the deep backward point fence. India are 4/0. Time for Kagiso Rabada vs Rohit Sharma
09:30 hrs IST: Out come Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma. This is a vital period for both individuals, more so for Rohit after he was dismissed second ball in the warm-up game against South Africa at Vizianagaram.
09:19 hrs IST: Here are the playing XIs of both the sides. There is a debutant in the South Africa side and he is a spinner by the name of Senuran Muthusamy
South Africa (Playing XI): Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami
09:03 hrs IST: Virat Kohli has won the toss and he will bat. The India cricket team captain has said it is a no-brainer. Faf du Plessis also said that it is a dry wicket and that their record with tosses in the sub-continent is not too great.
08:59 hrs IST: The wicket is dry and there are some cracks. They are expected to widen and the spinners will get plenty of assistance. The team that wins the toss should bat first and they should eye a score in the range of 400 to 450. There will be some reverse swing on offer for the pacers.
08:55 hrs IST: For South Africa, there have been plenty of changes in the side. There is no Hashim Amla. No Dale Steyn. The two people who made a big impact in 2010 in South Africa's last Test win in India are no longer playing Tests. Faf du Plessis has returned to the side but he will have a big task in managing South Africa's new line-up.
08:45 hrs IST: Call it providence or a twist of fate. In 2010, Rohit Sharma was all set to debut in the Test match against South Africa in Nagpur but he suffered a knee injury just before the toss and was ruled out. That set back his career by a few years. In 2019, against the same opponents, Rohit is all set to literally open a new chapter in his Test career. Will be pass the Test or will he continue being an enigma in Test cricket?
08:39 hrs IST: After a gap of one year, Tests return to India and the first match will take place in Vizag. This is the first match for South Africa in the new World Test Championship and they will be keen to shun the nightmares of their 2015 visit when they were hammered 3-0 in the four-Test series. Conditions in Vizag are overcast and whether this will tempt the teams to bowl first will be worth seeing.