Rohit Sharma continued his golden form with the bat as India made their way back before bad light and rain stopped play early on Day 1 of the third and final Test on Saturday at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.
At the end of play, India were 224/3, with Rohit Sharma batting on 117 and Ajinkya Rahane on 83.
Rohit, who was promoted in the batting order at the start of the Test series, smashed his ton in 129 balls with a six off Dane Piedt. His innings included 14 fours and 4 sixes.
This is Rohit’s third hundred of the series. In the first Test in Vizag, he scored centuries in both innings of the match. In fact, he is the first Indian batsman after Sunil Gavaskar to score three centuries in a Test series.
Rohit, along with Ajinkya Rahane stabilised the Indian innings with a 185-run stand for the fourth wicket after a great show with the ball by South Africa in the morning session, which saw India lose three big wickets.
Meanwhile, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also brought up his fifty in 70 balls.
Earlier, South African pacers put up some serious fight in the first session after being made to toil hard with the ball in the first two Test matches,
Kagiso Rabada gave his side the perfect start. Going into lunch, India were 71/3 with Rohit Sharma (38) and Ajinkya Rahane (11) at crease.
Rabada dismissed in-form opener Mayank Agarwal (10) as early as in the fifth over of the Test. In his very next over, Rabada sent Cheteshwara Pujara back for a duck after a successful review.
After Rabada, debutant Anrich Nortje made a perfect start to his Test career. He got the prized wicket of Indian skipper Virat Kohli (12), who was trapped LBW.
For the first time in the Test series, India look to be in a spot of bother.
Earlier in the day, India won the toss and chose to bat.
India have made one change to their playing XI that featured in the Pune Test. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been handed debut and he comes into the side in place of Ishant Sharma who has been given rest.
“Just one change - Ishant has been given a break. Shahbaz Nadeem makes his debut. We’ll have to continue to work hard and look to win sessions of cricket. That’s the only message I look to pass on.”Virat Kohli
“Unfortunately, Kuldeep (Yadav) couldn't pull up. We checked on him yesterday but he didn't respond well enough from his shoulder niggle. Nadeem is the local boy and it's a dream debut," said the Indian skipper after winning the toss.
South Africa, on the other hand, have made three changes to their line-up. They have included Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde and Lungi Ngidi in their playing XI.
“Change in the batting order. Quinton will open the batting. Hopefully he can put pressure on the Indian bowlers, like what Rohit has done for India.”Faf du Plessis
“Heinrich Klaasen comes in as the wicket-keeper. A new spinner in George Linde makes his Test debut," said South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis.
"Lungi Ngidi also comes in. We've gone in with five bowlers to take the 20 wickets and hopefully we can. We're ready for the fight," he added.
India already lead the three-match Test series 2-0 with wins in the first two Tests in Vizag and Pune respectively.
Despite pocketing the series, Virat Kohli and Co would go for a win in Ranchi to inflict a whitewash on South Africa for the first time.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis(c), Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen(w), George Linde, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi