Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on opener Rohit Sharma after he led India’s reply to England’s paltry first innings total of 112 with a fluent unbeaten fifty on a difficult batting pitch on Day 1 of the pink-ball Test.
Former India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Rohit Sharma can be the deciding factor in the Pink-ball Test, adding England have a chance to come back into the match if they manage to dismiss the opener early on the second day’s play.
Sunil Gavaskar: Rohit Sharma Knows How To Pace His Innings
Rohit Sharma was one of the stars who shone for India on Day 1 of the historic Test being played at the rebuilt Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricket venue in the world.
Despite the rest of the batsmen struggling to get going on a 13-wicket day at the Motera, Rohit Sharma was at his fluent best, remaining unbeaten on 57 as India headed to Stumps in a dominant position. Despite losing Virat Kohli in the final over of the day, India went at Stump’s at 99 for 3, trailing England’s first-innings total only by 13 runs.
“The way Rohit Sharma is batting, the confidence that Ajinkya Rahane is showing, there was no night watchman after the last wicket of the day fell, that shows India are pretty confident of overhauling England’s total and get a substantial lead to make sure they don’t have to bat in the fourth innings. Even if they have to, maybe for not too many runs,” Sunil Gavaskar told Star Sports.
“He (Rohit) knows how to play, how to pace his innings. That’s what he is going to try to do. And he is the kind of player who can’t be put under any pressure. He can play through the off-side, play through the on-side and he is such a difficult batsman to keep quiet.”
“He will be scoring all the time. When the opposition has got only 112, they can’t let him get off to a start (on Thursday). They need his wicket more than anybody else’s wicket. If they get him out early tomorrow, they are in with a chance. That’s why Rohit is going to be crucial to this match from tomorrow onwards,” he added.
Rohit Sharma, who hit a decisive 161 in the 2nd Test in Chennai, was once again dominant against the England attack in difficult batting conditions. He added a 64-run stand with the captain, who departed for 27, handing England spinner Jack Leach his 2nd wicket of the Test.
India is comfortably in the driver’s seat after spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin shared 9 wickets between them to dismiss England for a paltry 112 after Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat. Axar Patel playing only his 2nd Test picked 6 wickets conceding 38 runs.
Sunil Gavaskar: England Will Be Happy That Virat Kohli Was Dismissed Early And Didn’t Trouble Bowlers After Dropped Chance
Virat Kohli was dropped when he was batting on 24 towards the fag end of Day 1 play as pacer James Anderson continued the wait for the India skipper’s wicket since 2014. However, Virat Kohli was not able to add much to his tally as he chopped one onto the stumps in Jack Leach’s final over of the day.
“He didn’t trouble the England bowlers after that escape (dropped chance of Anderson). That is something that England will be happy about. If India had to go close of play with just two wickets down with Virat Kohli batting on 30 and Rohit Sharma batting on fifty-odd, that would have meant the England team would have had a sleepless night.”
“Now they are in with a chance, Ajinkya Rahane is new to the crease, they have got the rock Cheteshwar Pujara for 0. Clearly, England will say to themselves that if we bowl well and take our catches, then we can restrict India to a reasonable total,” Sunil Gavaskar said.
Sunil Gavaskar believes England will be happy as they got Virat Kohli’s wicket late in the day and can still fight back into the Test if they manage to get Rohit Sharma early on Day 2.