Rohit Sharma scored his third century of the series as India recovered from a shaky start to dominate day one of the third and final Test against South Africa at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.
India went into the shed at 224-3 when bad light stopped play shortly after the tea break. Rohit and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane dominated the bowling between lunch and tea after the Proteas had their best morning session of the series.
The duo have put on 185 runs so far at a good rate to continue India’s dominance in the series.
India, who won the toss and elected to bat, went into the lunch break at 71-3 after Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada dismissed opener Mayank Agarwal and No 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara.
Rookie paceman Anrich Nortje then removed India captain Virat Kohli lbw shortly before lunch to earn his first Test wicket after he struggled to make an impact on debut in Pune last week.
However, normal service resumed in the second session as Rohit took the attack to the South African bowlers.
The Proteas have been guilty of not consistently finding the sort of lines and lengths they achieved in the first hour of this Test.
Sharma (117 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (83 not out) scored at more than five an over after lunch. Sharma was especially brutal to Proteas off-spinner Dane Piedt (0-43 in six 0vers), while the other bowlers were also ineffective when the ball started to get older and softer.
Rohit went past the record for the most sixes hit by a batsman in a Test series (17), and the most struck this year.
The home side boast an unassailable 2-0 series lead after comfortable victories in the first Test in and the second in Visakhapatnam and Pune.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 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 (wk), George Linde, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi.
Photo: Gallo Images