Rohit Sharma doubles up his efforts as Test opener

Not only did he bring up his hundred with a six, but Rohit Sharma also hit a maximum to reach his double century.

Photo: ICC

Rohit Sharma registered his highest score in Test cricket when he smashed his maiden double century in the third and final Test match against South Africa at Ranchi on Sunday.

Electing to bat first, India were pushed on the back foot in the opening hour as they were left at 39/3 but Sharma kept his end steady and joined hands with Ajinkya Rahane to keep the hosts in control.

"Whenever you get an opportunity, we try and make full use of it. You try and perform as much as you can," Sharma said. "I haven't played much, I have played only 30 Test matches. In terms of what was thrown at me in this particular Test match, I'd definitely say that it was probably the most challenging one."

The duo forged a 267-run partnership, the highest stand for the fourth wicket against the Proteas surpassing the 178 between Virat Kohli and Rahane in the preceding Test played in Pune, with Rahane notching up a ton as well.

Continuing his rich vein of form, it was Rohit Sharma's third ton of the series becoming only the second Indian opener to do so after Sunil Gavaskar, who is now the league commissioner of T20 Mumbai.

Sharma, an ARCS Andheri pick from the inaugural season of T20 Mumbai, brought up his fifty in 86 balls with a four off a straight drive towards long-off, his hundred in the same direction from a six off Dane Piedt, and his double in style by pulling a six off Lungi Ngidi.

While his first fifty took 86 balls, Sharma's subsequent half-centuries took 44, 69 and 50 deliveries. When he brought up his hundred, he also crossed the 2,000-run mark in Test cricket.

He slammed 19 maximums in the series, a record for the most number of sixes by a batsman in a series, surpassing West Indies' Shimron Hetmyer tally of 15 against Bangladesh last year. The Indian record was held by Harbhajan Singh, who had 14 sixes to his name against New Zealand in 2010.

In the first Test at Visakhapatnam, where he scored a century in each innings, Rohit Sharma had hit 13 sixes to set a new record for the most number of maximums scored in a single match.

Sharma ended his innings on 212 (255b, 28x4s, 6x6s) at a strike rate of 83.13 with nearly 70 per cent of his runs scored in boundaries alone. His 529 runs in the series are also the most by an Indian in a series against South Africa, going past the 388 scored by Mohammad Azharuddin at home in 1996/97.

For his monumental efforts, he was named Man of the Match and also the Man of the Series.

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