Play resumed on the second day of the Third Test in Ranchi with India, already two up in the series, in a strong position once more against South Africa. Winning the toss and opting to bat for the third time in a row they had reached 224 – 3 when bad light brought an early end to proceedings, with Rohit Sharma 117 not out, and Ajinkya Rahane undefeated on 83. Together they had put on an unbeaten 185 for the fourth wicket, after India had recovered from being 39 – 3 earlier.
The blueprint for India had already been laid out in the first two matches in the series – build a big score in the first innings and control the match from there. And that it was their batsmen looked to do. First Sharma and Rahane extended their partnership past the two hundred mark, before Rahane reached his own century, his 11th in test cricket. Finally though, he fell to a catch behind by Heinrich Klaasen, with George Linde claiming his first test wicket. Rahane’s innings had included one six and 17 fours.
Sharma then combined with Ravindra Jadeja and reached another personal milestone, his first double hundred in test cricket. His partnership with Jadeja was worth 64, before his vigil at the crease came to an end when he had reached 212, having struck 6 sixes and 28 fours. Kagiso Rabada was the bowler this time, Lungu Ngidi supplying the catch.
Jadeja then combined with wicket-keeper Wriddiham Saha in a stand worth 47, before Saha was bowled by Linde for 24. By this point, the home side were determined to score runs as quickly as possible. Jadeja reached his half-century, but then he was caught behind off Linde for 51. Then Ravichandran Ashwin was stumped by Heinrich Klaasen off Dane Piedt for 14. When Umesh Yadav, who had hit 5 sixes off 10 balls in scoring 31 was caught behind off Linde, Indian declared their innings on 497 – 9.
Linde was the most successful of the South African bowlers, taking 4 for 133, whilst Rabada finished with 3 for 85.
After nearly two weary days in the field, the South African batsmen began their reply, but they had a disastrous start when Dean Elgar was caught behind off just the second ball of the innings bowled by Ishant Sharma. Then, at the end of the second over, fellow opener Quinton de Kock perished in identical fashion, Umesh Yadav the bowler this time.