India vs South Africa: After stellar century, Rohit Sharma identifies what worked for him
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first on a surface which was deemed dry by both the skippers. All the focus shifted to Rohit Sharma, who walked out to open for the first time in Test matches and true to the nature of the beast, he was put through a stern test by South Africa’s new ball bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. However, Rohit was extremely disciplined and stuck to his task to see off the new ball and slowly blossomed in the role.
He slowly hit his stride and pressed on the accelerator to notch up his 50 just before lunch. When the second innings began, the right-hander was in his glory and attacked the spinners with aplomb to race away from South Africa. A punch towards deep extra cover saw him register a ton and as he lofted his bat to salute the dressing room, the cameras panned towards Virat Kohli - the captain was leading the applause.
Speaking at the end of the day’s play, Rohit said that opening the batting always suited his game as he loved to wear his pads and walk straight out to take part in the action.
“I think it suits my game, just wear the pads and bat. Waiting game, when I used to bat at five or six number, I won’t say it didn’t suit my batting. Your mind is fresh, we know we have to play the new ball. You know the bowlers who are bowling with the new ball do, so the game plan is easier for you. You know you have to face the new ball and these will be the fielders. At six, the ball is reversing, field placement is different and you need to keep all those things in mind. That game of wearing the pads and going in to bat suits my game,” said Rohit.
He was very aggressive against Dane Piedt and the off-spinner never really found any rhythm right through the day. Rohit revealed that after playing out a few overs, they realised that the ball was not turning much and hence, they could go after the spinners.
“We played few overs of the two spinners and we realised that the ball wasn’t turning much and there was not much bounce. We wanted to use our feet and get closer to the ball and then obviously those are my shots that I play and I wanted to back myself and back my game. And what you saw today what pretty much what I do, pretty much my batting. Sticking to my template was very important,” Rohit said.
“Me and Mayank spoke between overs to try and find those little gaps and place the ball between two fielders and try and strike. Because it is very important on a pitch like that where it’s slower and lower. We need to keep rotating strike where the bowler doesn’t find the rhythm,” he further added.