Cape Town: Rishabh Pant scored one of his finest hundreds in the most adverse of circumstances but another shoddy batting show left India with only 211 runs to defend on the third day of the third and final cricket Test against South Africa on Thursday.
Pant's (100 not out off 139 balls) fourth Test hundred constituted for more than 50 per cent of India's second innings total of 198 with Virat Kohli's 29 off 143 balls being the second-highest individual score.
Pant has become the first Indian wicketkeeper-batter to score a Test ton in South Africa and the first wicketkeeper-batter from Asia to get a Test hundred in South Africa.
The umpires called for a tea break at the fall of the final Indian wicket in the extended second session. This was the first Test match in 145-year-history where all 20 batters of one team were caught.
The day belonged to Pant as he scored a hundred which is as good as one would ever see and what stood out was his shot selection, which was immaculate. Skipper Virat Kohli's presence during a 94-run stand definitely helped that he had that guiding light in the middle as he went about his job.
Once Pant had unsettled the line and length of the Proteas pace unit, Dean Elgar opened the field allowing them to rotate the strike but once Kohli perished outside the off-stump, it was only Pant who had to take the burden.
The other highlight was his batting with the tail, taking a single off either the fourth or fifth delivery shielding the Numbers 9, 10 and 11 as much as possible.
If Pant's learning from his mistake was one good aspect, the same can't be said about Cheteshwar Pujara (9) and Ajinkya Rahane (1) as they have now put their careers in jeopardy.
Pujara was again cramped for room on the leg side and the tickle of the gloves was brilliantly taken by Keegan Petersen at leg slip, diving to his right and snapping it up inches ahead of the ground.
In the case of Rahane, Rabada bowled a terrific one which kicked from the length and took his gloves and Dean Elgar at first slip caught it after keeper Kyle Verreynne had managed to tip it up with his gloves.
Eight Indian batters failed to get into double figures.