India in command after dual strike dents South Africa on Day 2 in Ranchi
After a shaky start early on Day 1, India recovered well with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane going strong at stumps on the first day in the third Test against South Africa at JSCA International stadium in Ranchi. On Day 2, it was time to pile on the misery for the visitors and post a huge total in the first innings as India did exactly the same after they declared at 497-9 in the second session.
On the second morning, both the overnight batsmen began cautiously and didn't allow Proteas any chance to make a comeback into the Test.
Rahane, who was batting on 83 overnight, brought up his 11th century in his Test career. It also marked an end to a three-year drought with no centuries on home soil for the Indian vice-captain. His partner, Rohit also began to move swiftly towards yet another milestone. The duo plundered runs with ease and managed to score 133 runs in the first session of day's play.
While Rahane was caught behind on 115, Sharma continued to stamp his authority even after lunch. He registered his maiden double hundred in Test cricket and became only the second Indian opener after Virender Sehwag to have accounted for more than 500 runs in a series since 2005.
His innings was a masterclass as he played close to the body and even brought his limited-overs game to the fore when the bowling was down and out. Finally, the Mumbai batsman departed for his highest Test score of 212 in just 255 balls including 28 fours and 6 huge sixes.
India's lower-order also enjoyed its time in the middle as useful contributions from Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha and a quick 10-ball 31 cameo from Umesh Yadav helped India to declare at 497/9 at tea.
With a mountain to climb in their first innings, South Africa witnessed a dismal start after a wicket on second ball saw Dean Elgar back to the pavilion. Yadav then dismissed Quinton de Kock with a fiery bouncer as SA were reeling at 9 for 2 at the end of day's play. Due to bad light and some rain thereafter, early stumps was called with the visitors still 488 runs behind.
Cover image credits: Hindustan Times