Team India bounced back well after South Africa claimed three wickets in the morning session to take honours at the end of day one in Ranchi. Striving at 39 for three at one point, the host went back at 224 for three after bad light stopped the day’s play early after a spell of showers. India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour heaped praise on Ajinkya Rahane for another exciting knock in the series.
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Although India have pocketed the series with 2-0 wins, South Africa had everything to play for considering the ICC World Test Championship. Kagiso Rabada gave Proteas the exact start they would have liked for but it slipped from their hands in the afternoon session.
Rabada removed opener Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara while Anrich Nortje was lucky to get Virat Kohli out LBW. South Africa got the early impetus but Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane stitched an unbeaten partnership to bail the host out of danger.
They added 185 runs for the fourth wicket to take home the honours for India. Rohit Sharma looked a bit edgy to start off but once he gets going, he dispatched the bowlers with ease. He brought his third century of the series finishing on 117 off 164 balls, with four sixes and 14 fours.
Ajinkya Rahane also looked settled from the other end as he made an attacking start scoring 40 off just 42 deliveries. Later on, he consolidated ending the day on 83 not out of 135 balls. Speaking at the end of the day’s play, India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour heaped praise on Rahane for showing composure.
“Ajinkya showed great intent today. Whenever he bats with this intent, he looks a really good player,” said Rathour in the post-match press conference.
Ajinkya Rahane will look to get to century quickly on day two which will also be his first at home in over three years. India will want Rohit Sharma and Rahane to continue and post another massive first innings total to put South Africa under pressure.