New Delhi: Rohit Sharma's promotion to No.3 failed to yield any better result than his first innings show as India reached 51 for two at lunch on the third day of the fourth and final cricket Test against South Africa, here on Saturday.
The overall lead thus swelled to 264 with Shikhar Dhawan was batting on 20 in company of Cheteshwar Pujara (27 batting) at the break.
The duo added 43 runs for the unbroken third wicket after Murali Vijay (3) and Rohit (0) were dismissed by Morne Morkel (2/10 in 7 overs) with only eight runs on the board.
Pujara and Dhawan played cautiously hitting a few boundaries in between to bring up the 50 of the innings in the 26th over.
Earlier, India started the day on a disastrous note, losing Vijay to a lethal short ball bowled by Morkel. The tall speedster hit the back of the length area as the ball kicked up viciously.
The normally technically sound Vijay tried to awkwardly fend it off to get out of the way. The ball looked like brushing his armguards before being taken by Dane Vilas behind the stumps as he timed his jump to perfection.
The team management promoted Rohit at No 3 trying to give him some valuable time with less pressure and a sizeable lead on the board. But the Mumbai lad again disappointed his fans as Morkel bowled one fuller that move a shade to rattle his off-stump.
Pujara, who sustained a bruise in his forearm on Friday and could not field, carried on manfully in the second innings. He faced 68 balls to hit three boundaries while a more cautious Dhawan hit only two boundaries in his 72-ball stay at the wicket.
Pujara whipped Dane Piedt through midwicket for a boundary while he faced some difficulty facing Kyle Abbott and got a couple of streaky boundaries.
Dhawan, however, was more assured against Abbott as he twice hit off-drives to collect his boundaries but was apparently more cautious against the spinners.
Piedt (0/19 off 9 overs) and Tahir 90/3 off 3 overs) also bowled tightly during the first session.
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: 51/2 in 26 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 27 batting, Shikhar Dhawan 20 batting; Morne Morkel 2/10).