Elegance and nonchalance enlivened the sleepy Karnail Singh Stadium with Rohit Sharma's strokeplay sending hosts Railways running for cover and selectors a reminder that he is getting back into form.
It was Rohit's first outing in a four-day game after recovering from a finger injury. The pressure just added on with his team losing three top batsmen even before reaching 100.
But instead of digging deep, and bringing forth patience, a quality required so much on this slow track, Rohit (133*) counter-attacked with blistering strokes.
He looked in the zone, timing the ball exquisitely all around the wicket. His first few fours were hit straight down the ground. The shots gave so much evidence about his return to fitness that his post-match comments about not feeling comfortable came as a surprise.
"I am not comfortable. But I feel very okay," he said when asked about comfort. "It is great to start the season with a century."
For those who'd seen him play his last game here, it was deja-vu. Then also, Mumbai had lost early wickets and he counter-attacked to shrug off the pressure.
"I just didn't want the bowlers to get on top. I wanted to dominate them and play my natural strokes," he said justifying his attacking approach. There were classic drives, one of which stood out with the ease of its implementation. He extended his left foot and just caressed the half volley through the covers with a stationary, erect bat. It was impeccable.
As overs went by and Railways bowlers suffered, Rohit grew in confidence and graduated to deft dabs and touches that sometimes raced to the fence
Suryakumar Yadav matched Rohit. The two added 180 and their partnership snatched the initiative from Railways.