03 December, New Delhi
Riding on Ajinkya Rahane’s unbeaten 89, India finished the opening day at 231 for seven in the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground here Thursday.
Rahane, who got a life on 78, when he was dropped at slips by Hashim Amla is now the highest Indian scorer in this series. At stumps, Rahane was unbeaten on 89 off 155 balls with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6) giving him company.
Just when India were struggling at 139 for six at tea, Rahane along with Ravindra Jadeja (24) forged a 59-run stand for the seventh wicket to bail the hosts out of trouble and take the score to 198 before the left-hander fell to a simple catch to Dean Elgar at short mid-wicket off Kyle Abbot.
Jadeja’s 59-ball knock was laced with three boundaries. Rahane, however, continued his brilliance with the bat as he smashed the spinners for two sixes and nine boundaries.
Earlier, India suffered a minor collapse losing five wickets in the second session as the Virat Kohli-led side was reduced to 139 for six at tea as the Proteas bowlers maintained a tight line and length giving the hosts little room to score freely.
Resuming at 60 for one at lunch, Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Cheteshwar Pujara (24) went early leaving the hosts struggling at 66 for three
Dhawan fell to Dane Piedt after being trapped in front and Pujara was bowled by Kyle Abbott.
After the quick dismissals of Pujara and Dhawan, Rahane and skipper Virat Kohli (44) rebuilt the Indian innings as the duo forged a 70-run partnership for the fourth wicket to get India past 130. Kohli’s 44 came off 62 balls including seven boundaries.
The fall of Kohli brought Rohit Sharma (1) to the crease, whose poor form with the bat continued as he got out after playing an irresponsible shot to give a simple catch to Imran Tahir at long-on off Piedt. Wicket-keeper Wridhiman Saha (1) then joined Rahane but failed to make his opportunity count as he was bowled by a quick one from Abbot just at the stroke of tea. Earlier, India reached 60 for one at lunch. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Indian openers got off to a cautious start but lost Murali Vijay (12) with just 30 runs on the board.
After the fall of Vijay’s wicket, Pujara joined Dhwan and the duo played some good strokes.
For the visitors, DL Piedt was the pick of the bowlers with four scalps while Kyle Abbot supported him with three wickets.
Piedt got rid of the top four batters – Vijay, Dhawan, Kohli and Rohit while Abbot accounted for the wickets of Pujara, Saha and Jadeja.
India lead the 4 match series 2-nil.
Earlier, the recently-retired flamboyant opener Virender Sehwag was felicitated by the BCCI at the start of the fourth test match.