Twitter Reactions: Rohit and Pujara set up colossal task for Proteas to evade defeat

Rohit became the first batsman to notch back-to-back tons on debut as a Test opener.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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India would be the happier side after the fourth day’s play in the opening Test versus South Africa in Vizag. After fighting to get the Proteas’ batters out, the Indian batsmen came out firing on all cylinders and have gained the upper hand once again. With one day left, Faf du Plessis and Co need 384 to win the game with nine wickets in hand and most importantly, 98 overs to play out the day.

Rohit and Pujara take charge

Senuran Muthusamy (33*) and Kagiso Rabada (15) ensured that South Africa’s trail reduced to 71 before getting bowled out. The last-wicket stand between Muthusamy and Rabada added 35 runs as the visitors were bowled out for 431. Ravi Ashwin nipped out Keshav Maharaj and Rabada to pick up a seven-wicket haul. India didn’t make a great start as Mayank Agarwal fell prey to Maharaj.

Cheteshwar Pujara (81) was slow to start, but picked up as he got his eyes in, hitting 13 fours and a couple of sixes. Rohit Sharma (127) carried on from where he left in the first innings. In his maiden Test as an opener, the Mumbai batter notched his second century in a row. After Agarwal’s wicket, it was his 169-run stand with Pujara that literally put an end to the Proteas chances of a victory.

Pujara’s brilliant knock was cut short by Vernon Philander after which Maharaj got Rohit stumped. Rohit smacked 13 fours and seven sixes to give India the ascendancy. Ravindra Jadeja (40) was promoted ahead of Virat Kohli (31) and it paid dividends. He wielded the willow, smacking three sixes. The skipper and Ajinkya Rahane (27) added the much-needed impetus to the innings.

India pushes South Africa in a rabbit hole

India eventually declared at 323, setting South Africa a target of 395 runs. Right from the outset, the spinners- Ashwin and Jadeja- were in operation. The latter struck first blood, pinning Dean Elgar, the visitors’ top-scorer in the first innings, in front after using the DRS. Kohli took the review with only four seconds left when the concern was about whether the ball pitched outside leg-stump or not.

The onus was then on Aiden Markram and Theunis de Bruyn to play out the remaining overs of the day. The floodlights took full effect and the umpires decided to call off play for the day with three overs remaining. Ashwin was also economical, having conceded only seven runs in his five overs. The Proteas have a herculean task ahead of them on a deck, which has produced 22 wickets in four days.

Here is how Twitter reacted on the day’s play