South Africa crawl to 40/1 at tea after Rahane century

South Africa crawl to 40/1 at tea after Rahane century
Chasing a mammoth 481, South African batsmen employed an ultra-defensive approach reaching 40/1 in 39 overs at tea on day 4 after Ajinkya Rahane achieved the rare distinction of scoring hundreds in both innings of a Test match in the fourth and final Test, here today.

Courtesy Rahane's unbeaten 100, India declared their second innings at 267 for five. In their bid to bat out for a draw, South African skipper Hashim Amla decided to defend anything and everything that came his way and added only 35 runs in 34 overs with opener Temba Bavuma (30).

Such was their defensive mindset that they scored at a rate of less than a run per over for the better part.

Amla took 46 balls to open his account and then reached 6 off 113 balls at the break. In fact when he completed facing 100 balls, he had scored only 6 runs.

Amla's 46 balls to get off the mark is the third most balls consumed after Stuart Broad (62 balls vs NZ in 2013) and Grant Flower (51 balls vs NZ in 2000).

Bavuma also showed resilience facing 104 balls which included three streaky boundaries and a six off Ravichandran Ashwin.

This is the first time that two South African batsmen in this series have played 100 balls each in a single innings. This was after opener Dean Elgar (4) was removed by Ashwin, who was introduced in the fourth over. The Proteas still need 476 runs for an improbable win.

Earlier, following his classy 127, Rahane once again produced a top quality innings that contained eight boundaries and three sixes, facing 206 balls.

With his sixth hundred in the longest format, Rahane also joined the elite list of Indian cricketers, who have reached the three-figure mark in both innings of a Test match.

Late Vijay Hazare (once), Sunil Gavaskar (thrice), Rahul Dravid (twice) and Virat Kohli (once) are the other Indian batsmen to have achieved the coveted milestone.

Rahane batted like a man possessed as he changed gears from cautious to attacking with effortless ease. Kyle Abbott was cut to the boundary while he used the pace of a short delivery from Morne Morkel to guide it over third-man fence for six.

Once he reached 80, Rahane slog-swept a half volley from Imran Tahir over deep mid-wicket for his second six. In the very next over, Dane Piedt met with the same fate as Rahane danced down the track to hit another six.

While he played 152 balls for his 52 yesterday, he took another 54 balls in the morning session to complete his remaining 48 runs.

Wriddhiman Saha (23 not out) added 56 runs in only 14.1 overs with Rahane. Skipper Virat Kohli (88) must be a disappointed man as he missed out on a well-deserved 12th Test hundred, managing to add only five runs to his overnight score of 83.

It was a delivery from Abbott that was angled in and it kept low after pitching, hitting Kohli in the leg-middle line. Umpire Bruce Oxenford ruled it in favour of the bowler after some deliberations.

In all, Kohli faced 165 balls hitting 10 boundaries as Rahane continued without much fuss. The Rahane-Kohli duo added 154 runs for the fifth wicket, which is by far the highest partnership for any wicket among the either teams in the series.

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