Rohit Sharma smashed his sixth century and third in the series against South Africa to boost India in Ranchi. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Rohit Sharma continued his magnificent form in the current series against South Africa as he blasted his sixth century and the third in this series on the first day of the Ranchi Test at the JSCA stadium. Rohit made a massive impact in the series in the first Test in Vizag by hammering a century in both innings, making him only the sixth Indian player to achieve this feat. After a failure in Pune, Rohit roared back to form with another magnificent ton to nullify the early advantage South Africa had after they took three wickets.
India chose to bat and Kagiso Rabada got the big wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply. Anrich Nortje's maiden Test wicket was that of skipper Virat Kohli but Rohit held firm at the other end, neogitating Rabada's pace and being patient. After being beaten by Rabada, Rohit got going with a streaky four off Lungi Ngidi. Rabada hit Rohit on the glove as he negotiated the first hour in a tricky way.
However, when South Africa decided to bowl short, Rohit unfurled the pull shot and he found the boundary on a regular basis. With Rohit attacking, South Africa strayed in their lines and the Mumbai right-hander pounced on it. Rohit neared his fifty with a top-edged six off Nortje over fine leg and he reached his fifty in style with a straight drive to the long off fence.
With Ajinkya Rahane playing aggressively and matching Rohit stroke for stroke, the partnership crossed 100 and the Proteas bowling was deflated. Rohit grew in confidence with every passing minute, flicking left-arm spinner George Linde and driving Nortje with ease through the covers. Ngidi felt the wrath of Rohit when the batsman smashed two boundaries off him, one through deep extra cover and one to fine leg.
The introduction of Dane Piedt increased Rohit's aggression as he smashed two sixes off the spinner to cross the 90s. With those two sixes off Piedt, Rohit broke the record for the most sixes by an Indian player in a bilateral Test series. Previously, Harbhajan Singh had held the record with 14 sixes during India's series against New Zealand in 2010. Rohit notched up his century in grand style as he blasted Piedt over long off and he raised his arms in jubilation.
With three centuries in the series and with his six-hitting prowess in full display, Rohit's presence at the top has ensured India have an intimidating top order.