New Delhi: Ajinkya Rahane achieved the rare distinction of scoring hundreds in both innings of a Test match as India set South Africa a mammoth victory target of 481 on the penultimate day of the fourth and final cricket Test, here on Sunday.
Courtesy Rahane's unbeaten 100, India declared their second innings at 267 for five leaving South Africa with an awkward 30 minutes to negotiate before the lunch.
South Africa were already in trouble tottering at 5/1 at the break.
Opener Dean Elgar (4) was removed by Ravichandran Ashwin, who was introduced in the fourth over. The Proteas still need 476 runs for an improbable win. Temba Bavuma (1 batting) and Hashim Amla 90 batting) were at the crease.
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 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.
India 1st innings: 334 (Ajinkya Rahane 127, Ravichandran Ashwin 56; Kyle Abbott 5/40, Dane Piedt 4/117)
South Africa 1st innings: 121 (AB de Villiers 42, Ravindra Jadeja 5/30)
India 2nd innings: 267 for 5 declared in 100.1 overs (Virat Kohli 88, Ajinkya Rahane 100 not out; Morne Morkel 3/51).
South Africa 2nd innings: 5 for 1 in 5 overs (Ravichandran Ashwin 1/5)
India lead by 476 runs.