Opening the batting with Rohit was the right decision, says Vikram Rathour

Rohit was ably supported by Rahane, who looked positive right from the start and hit some delectable boundaries en route to an unbeaten 83.

Rohit Sharma celebrates after reaching his century.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

There was a phase during the first day's play when after a frugal first session, Saturday must have started feeling like a day-long déjà vu for South Africa.

Members of the South African press could be spotted browsing videos of Dale Steyn picking wickets in Test whites and A.B. De Villiers blowing the West Indies attack into smithereens during that whirlwind century in 2015.

Nostalgia was once again the only solace for Faf du Plessis and his men, as Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane laid into their bowling here in Ranchi.

From 39 for three, the Mumbai duo first repaired the early damage done by a fiery first spell from Kagiso Rabada before turning their focus on putting the opposition under the cosh.

Rohit paced his innings beautifully, collecting only 23 off the first 55 balls and racing to his hundred off the next 75.

He now holds the record for the most number of sixes in a Test series: 17, going past Shimron Hetmyer's 15 against Bangladesh in 2018.

And batting coach Vikram Rathour was effusive in his praise for Rohit. "He (Rohit) is too good a player to not play all formats. Opening the batting with him was the right decision. And the number of runs he has scored, he has settled the issue (of opening) for the time being," Rathour said at the end of day's play.

"If somebody of his stature starts coming good at the top of the order, that changes everything for the team, even when you are touring. He is such an experienced player; I don't think you need to tinker with his technique. He just had to make some mental adjustments vis-a-vis his gameplan," he added.

Ajinkya Rahane made an unbeaten 83 on day one of the final Test.   -  AP

 

Rohit was ably supported by Rahane, who looked positive right from the start and hit some delectable boundaries en route to an unbeaten 83. The two batsmen were particularly harsh on South Africa's fifth bowler, Dane Piedt.

The pitch, although rated driest of the series by both Virat Kohli and du Plessis, was completely taken out of the equation by the two batsmen, who have put on 185 runs for the fourth wicket so far. Rathour also reserved for Rahane.

"I think he (Rahane) showed great intent today. Whenever he bats with this kind of intent, he looks a really good player. Both Rohit and Rahane punished the bad balls and once the wicket settled down, they could drive well too. It was a great partnership," he said.

South Africa will hope to see their backs when play resumes on day two at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi on Sunday.