Rahane rallies for India, South Africa on top


India reached 231-7 on day one of the fourth and final Test against South Africa following a strong showing from Ajinkya Rahane, with umpires calling an early end to proceedings due to bad light.

Off-spinner Dane Piedt (4-101) and quick Kyle Abbott (3-23) put the Proteas on top at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, with their impressive bowling difficult to read for the opposition batsmen, who faced 84 overs before the end of play.

Rahane (89 not out) ensured respectability in the score for the India, producing nine fours and two sixes as he ended the day unbeaten.

Alongside Ravindra Jadeja (24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (6 not out), he helped move India from 139-6 to 231-7, but South Africa will look to clean up the tail as soon as possible as they seek a consolation victory in the series, which they trail 2-0 in and have already lost.

India won the toss and elected to bat, starting slowly as they totalled just 14 runs in the opening 11 overs.

Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Murali Vijay (12) could only muster an opening stand of 30, with the latter caught by Hashim Amla at slip from the bowling of Piedt, India going into lunch at 60-1.

Piedt bowled Dhawan plum lbw soon after play recommenced, with the ball on line to hit the left-hander's middle stump.

Cheteshwar Pujara (14) was unable to inject any urgency into India's play, though he was the only other batsman to score a maximum during his stint before Abbott clipped the stumps to dismiss him.

Virat Kohli (44) and Rahane were more aggressive, but the former suffered an unfortunate dismissal when his sweep hit Temba Bavuma at short leg, looping up for wicketkeeper Dane Vilas to move from behind the stumps and catch.

Rohit Sharma was let off the hook by a drop at slip by Amla, but at the start of the 50th over, with India 138-5, he was punished by Piedt, caught by Imran Tahir at long on for just one.

Abbott increased India's problems when his delivery was helped onto the stumps by Wriddhiman Saha.

Rahane remained strong at the crease, however, clearing the ropes a further eight times to build on India's sluggish start.

After Jadeja was caught by Dean Elgar off Abbott at short midwicket, Amla dropped his second catch to miss the chance to remove Rahane, who will be hopeful of making a century when play resumes on Friday.

South Africa meanwhile will be hoping Imran Tahir (0-36) and Morne Morkel (0-40) can quickly recover from lacklustre showings. Elgar (0-15) and JP Duminy (0-4) also finished empty-handed from their brief spells.