South Africa posted 40/1 at tea to trail by 440 runs in their second innings after India declared their second stint at 267/5 on the penultimate day of the fourth and final cricket Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Sunday.
Ajinkya Rahane achieved the landmark distinction of two centuries in the same match as India declared their second innings after building up a lead of 480 runs. The Mumbai lad, who scored 127 in the first innings, remained unbeaten on 100 with eight boundaries and three sixes for the fifth Test ton of his career.
Rahane is the fifth Indian batsman to achieve the feat. The others who earned the distinction earlier were the late Vijay Hazare (once), Sunil Gavaskar (thrice), Rahul Dravid (twice) and current skipper Virat Kohli (once).
Chasing a mammoth victory target, the visitors lost opener Dean Elgar early before Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma came up with a solid defensive performance.
At tea, Bavuma was batting on 30 while Amla scored six painstaking runs off 113 deliveries, having taken 46 balls to open his account.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got the lone wicket for figures of 1/13.
Earlier, starting at the overnight score of 190/4, India lost captain Virat Kohli in the fifth over of the day.
Kohli scored 88 runs before being trapped leg before by pacer Kyle Abbott. The Delhi player hit 10 boundaries during his 165-ball knock.
Abbott got Kohli with one that kept low after pitching after pitching outside off. Kohli’s dismissal brought to an end his 154-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Rahane.
The partisan home crowd at the Kotla, left stunned at Kohli’s dismissal, found their voice again as Rahane scored at a brisk clip and gradually approached his century.
The 27-year-old started to unleash the big shots as he approached his century, hitting Tahir for a six over midwicket before stepping out to smash Elgar into the stands in the next over. He had earlier lifted a Morkel delivery for a six over third man.
He completed his century with a single off Tahir as the crowd leapt to their feet in applause. The declaration came immediately after.
Pacer Morne Morkel was the standout performer among the Proteas bowlers with figures of 3/51. Abbott (1/47) and leg-spinner Imran Tahir (1/74) also got a wicket each.
Set a victory target of 481 runs, the visitors suffered an early setback when Elgar edged Ashwin to Rahane at first slip.
His departure saw Amla stride to the middle and the Proteas skipper proceeded to try and wear out the Indian bowlers along with Temba Bavuma with a gritty defensive display.
The duo blocked most of the deliveries that came their way with only the occasional boundaries from Bavuma breaking the monotony.
Amla was off to a very slow start, opening his account in his 46th ball by taking a couple after an inside edge off Jadeja.
England’s John Murray (80 deliveries) holds the record of playing the most number of balls without scoring in an Ashes series against Australia in 1962.
Former England pacer Stuart Broad (62 balls) and Grant Flower (51 balls) of Zimbabwe are also ahead of Amla in the list. Broad produced his feat in 2013 and Grant in the year 2000, New Zealand being the opponents on both occasions.