Rohit Sharma slammed his maiden double hundred in Test cricket before India declared their first innings at 497 for nine in the third and final match against South Africa here on Sunday.
The second day’s tea was also called when skipper Virat Kohli called his last two batsmen back to the dressing room, assured that his team is in control of the game.
Overnight 117, newly-promoted Test opener Rohit, who is also the only batsman to rack up three double hundreds in the ODI format with a world record 264, batted with nonchalance and reached his double century with a six, going from his tea score of 199 to 205 in style. The 32-year-old smashed six sixes and 28 boundaries on the way to 212 from 255 balls, breaking a slew records in the process.
Rohit’s masterful knock virtually overshadowed a fine effort by Ajinkya Rahane (115), who scored his first Test century at home in three years, and 11th overall. Resuming on 224 for three, Rahane (83 overnight) looked fluent during his 192-ball knock that was studded with 17 fours and a six. The duo of Rohit and Rahane spent four and half hours in the middle for a record 267-run fourth-wicket partnership, staging India’s remarkable recovery after they were reduced to 39 for three on the first day.
That the partnership came at a healthy strike rate — in 361 balls — meant that India largely remained unaffected by the first day’s rain interruption, which led to play being called off after only 58 overs, giving them a firm push for a 3-0 clean sweep. After Rohit’s departure less than 15 minutes into the second session, Ravindra Jadeja carried forward the momentum at number six, with a 51 off 119 balls.
There was a clear instruction to accelerate the scoring at the drinks break, forcing Jadeja to edge one behind the stumps while trying to play an expansive shot. After Jadeja’s departure, Umesh Yadav propped up the total by smashing five sixes on his way to a 10-ball 31. Earlier, having dropped Rahane on 105, Heinrich Klaasen made amends by taking a good catch to give debutant George Linde his maiden Test scalp.
A glorious cover drive off Anrich Nortje set the tone for Rahane this morning as he collected three boundaries to enter the 90s before slowing down. In between, Rahane was tested by Anrich Nortje with a bouncer and one sharp incoming delivery that struck him on his pad.
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