Rohit Sharma blasted his maiden double ton and he also went past 50 sixes in Tests during the Ranchi game against South Africa. (Photo Credit: PTI)
When Rohit Sharma was appointed as the opener for the Indian team in the series against South Africa, the demand from the Indian public was for Rohit to hit centuries. The second demand was to score big centuries. In three games, Rohit has fulfilled all the demands in style. After twin centuries in Vizag, Rohit consolidated his reputation even further by smashing his maiden double century. In an apt tribute to Virender Sehwag on his 41st birthday, Rohit notched up his century and double ton with a six, very similar to how Sehwag used to do it. Rohit's 212, combined with his 267-run stand with Ajinkya Rahane who also hit his 11th century, helped India reach 497/9 declared. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami priced out the South Africa openers and India's dominance on the day was complete.
Both Rohit and Rahane started off confidently like they did on day 1. Rahane neared his century with a couple of fours off Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi. Rohit, on the other hand, found the boundary on a regular basis as he eyed a big score. Rahane was the first to get to his landmark by tapping a single to point and his 11th century was his first in India since 2016. Rohit, on the other hand, went past 150 and the partnership continued to hurt South Africa.
Rahane decided to change gears by smashing two fours off Dane Piedt but on 115, he tried to steer George Linde to third man but the extra bounce and pace resulted in his dismissal and it handed Linde his maiden wicket. The 267-run stand had given India a huge platform from which they could rebuild. Ravindra Jadeja consolidated and Rohit also neared his double ton. When lunch was taken, Rohit was on 199 but on resumption, he wasted no time and he notched up his landmark with a six off Ngidi. After another six off Kagiso Rabada, Rohit pulled a short ball to fine leg as his knock came to an end.
Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha helped India cross 400. Although Saha fell for 24 and Ravichandran Ashwin for 14, Jadeja went past his 13th fifty but departed soon after. Umesh Yadav put on a show by smashing Linde for five sixes and his 10-ball 31 got India closer to 500 but his dismissal saw Kohli declare for the fourth time in the series at 497/9.
In response, Mohammed Shami and Umesh produced a fiery spell. Dean Elgar, after hitting a boundary, tried to drop his wrists to a bouncer but the ball hit the glove and Saha took the catch. Quinton de Kock, promoted to open, was undone by a brute of a bouncer from Umesh as he fended it to Saha. India tried bowling spinners but the light deteriorated and stumps were called early for the second day.
The Indian bowlers have their tail up and despite the weather, South Africa face a massive task in saving the match and not going down 0-3 in the series.