An over before lunch on Day Two at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday, Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma walked in to bat after an elegant Armaan Jaffer (69) was dismissed by New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi. The crowd on the west stand went berserk trying to catch a glimpse of the India batsman as Sharma was off the field for almost two sessions on Friday.
Such is Rohit’s reputation that the fans expect him to go after the bowlers. And facing the spinners, he pleased his fans by hitting Sodhi for six to get off the mark, but on 18, he jumped out attempting a premeditated slog. Sodhi saw him charging and pulled his length back, beating Rohit to get him stumped.
Last year, Rohit was dismissed in the final Test at the same venue against South Africa, holing out to deep mid-wicket after losing patience against off-spinner Dane Piedt. It left India in a spot of bother, but Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja rescued the innings.
The situation wasn’t similar, but Rohit was expected to warm-up for the New Zealand series starting next week by scoring runs. Having missed out in the only Test he batted in the West Indies and in the Duleep Trophy final, runs here would have given him confidence.
When Rohit began batting, Sodhi was only settling down. The entire day, New Zealand spinners struggled to adjust and leaked runs. While left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner suffered as he failed to vary his pace and operated like a machine, Sodhi was inconsistent.
After Rohit hit him for six, Sodhi tested Rohit outside off stump. Twice Sodhi beat him but Rohit didn’t look like he would lose patience so early. He had collected a four following a misfield at cover. Despite the long-on fielder posted on the fence, he tried to go over the top instead of trying to spend time at the crease.
His 18 came off 40 balls, of which Sodhi bowled 27. Most of Rohit’s singles came on the leg side, off short deliveries. As the field was open, it was just a matter of staying at the crease. Rohit’s impatience could have been due to not getting boundaries.
However, other Mumbai batsmen dominated the bowling with opener Kaustubh Pawar and Surya Kumar Yadav hitting centuries. The Ranji champions maintained their reputation of giving a tough time to touring teams.
Brief scores: New Zealand 324; Mumbai 431/4 (K Pawar 100, S Yadav 103, S Lad 86*, A Tare 53*, A Jaffer 69, I Sodhi 2/132)