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PHOTOS: Rohit's century powers India on Day 1

Last updated on: October 19, 2019 16:34 IST

Images from Day 1 of the third Test between India and South Africa, in Ranchi, on Saturday.

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma celebrates after completing his century. Photograph: BCCI

Rohit Sharma continued his sensational run as the Test opener with his third hundred of the series, allowing India to regain control of the proceedings after a top-order collapse on Day 1 of the third and final Test against South Africa, in Ranchi, on Saturday.

Rohit hit a magnificent 117 from 164 balls, hitting 14 fours and a six, while vice-captain Rahane stroked a fluent 83 from 135 balls, laced with 11 fours and a six.

The duo were involved in an unbroken stand of 185 runs for the fourth wicket to rally India to 224 for three in 58 overs before bad light followed by rain ended play early on the opening day.

Ajinkya Rahane

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane bats on Day 1. Photograph: BCCI

With his stellar effort, Rohit, who hammered 14 boundaries and four sixes,  became the first Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar to score more than two centuries in a Test series. Gavaskar had achieved the feat way back in 1970.

The right-hander also broke the record for the most sixes hit in a bilateral Test series. Rohit hit four sixes during his unbeaten century on Day 1 to take his series tally to 16 sixes. He went past West Indies' batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who had registered 15 sixes in the two-Test series against Bangladesh in 2018-19.

Rohit's sixth Test century came with a massive six off spinner Dane Piedt. It was a typical knock from India's limited overs captain as he exercised caution when Kagiso Rabada was steaming in the morning before going for his strokes.

Rohit Sharma

If that was not enough, Rahane matched him at the other end and brought up his 21st half-century off just 70 balls.

iedt, who was included in place of Senuran Muthusamy, cut a sorry figure against Rohit's fury, giving away 43 runs in his six overs.

Debutant left-arm spinner George Linde, who replaced an injured Keshav Maharaj, also failed to get a wicket.

Dean Elgar celebrates catching Mayank Agarwal off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada.

IMAGE: Dean Elgar celebrates catching Mayank Agarwal off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada. Photograph: BCCI

Such was the Indian duo's dominance after lunch that Rabada, who had a fiery opening spell of 7-4-15-2, looked listless in the second spell that read 4-0-30-0.

Rahane matched Sharma shot for shot and at one point even had a better strike rate than his explosive Mumbai partner as he notched up his fastest half-century in India.

Rohut, however, had a testing opening session as he survived on seven after reviewing an LBW successfully. He also survived a run out chance when he was out of crease but Zubayr Hamza's throw from point missed the stumps.

Anrich Nortje celebrates after getting the umpire's nod for leg before wicket against Virat Kohli.

IMAGE: South Africa pacer Anrich Nortje celebrates after getting the umpire's nod for leg before wicket against India captain Virat Kohli. Photograph: BCCI

Uneven bounce with a few staying really low greeted the Indian openers in the morning as Rabada and Lungi Ngidi made full use of the conditions to give the visitors their best start of the series.

Rabada got rid of opener Mayank Agarwal (10) and Cheteshwar Pujara (0) inside the first-hour of play.

The first breakthrough came in Rabada's third over when the the pacer swung it away with Agarwal edging it to Dean Elgar at third slip.

South Africa's players celebrate the dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara

IMAGE: South Africa's players celebrate the dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara. Photograph: BCCI

Rabada went on to dismiss Pujara for a duck in his fifth over following a successful review by the South Africans after the on-field umpire Richard Illingworth turned down an lbw appeal.

But it was Nortje who earned the biggest wicket as he sent back Pune Test's double centurion Kohli after the skipper failed to read one that came back in sharply.

Kohli took the review but only to be turned down with an umpire's call and the skipper went back to the pavillion frustrated.

Shahbaz Nadeem, who replaced fellow left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, is presented his Test cap by skipper Virat Kohli.

IMAGE: Shahbaz Nadeem, who replaced fellow left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, is presented his Test cap by skipper Virat Kohli. Photograph: BCCI

Earlier, 30-year-old left-arm spinner Shabaz Nadeem became the 296th player to represent India when he was handed a surprise Test debut less than 24 hours after being included into the squad in place of an injured Kuldeep Yadav.

In his bid to avoid the ignominy of a 3-0 whitewash, Du Plessis made as many as five changes to his team with two of them -- Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram -- ruled out with injuries.

In came Ngidi, Zubayr Hamza, Heinrich Klaasen, Linde and Piedt with Vernon Philander, Theunis de Bruyn and Senuran Muthusamy being left out

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