Rohit Sharma earns praise from Tendulkar, Laxman after maiden Test ton as opener

Tags: South Africa tour of India 2019, India, South Africa, Rohit Gurunath Sharma, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman

Published on: Oct 03, 2019

Rohit Sharma made a brilliant start to his career as a Test opener, caressing his way to a fourth Test hundred, against South Africa at Visakhapatnam. After Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first, Rohit strode out to the middle with Mayank Agarwal, who had a third opening partner in just his fifth Test.

Things were tough for Rohit early on as the ball moved around, and Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada constantly probed him outside the off stump. Rohit had one heart-in-the-mouth moment when he left an in-swinger from Philander that went over the stumps, but was perilously close.

After Rohit saw through that difficult first hour, he found his bearings. The fact that he stood outside the crease to try and counter the swing also worked in his favour. Rohit went from strength to strength and was all at ease once the spinners came on, taking on both Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt.

Rohit notched up a fourth hundred just before weather interrupted proceedings at the stroke of tea, after which the entire last session was washed out. Rohit finished not out on 115 from 174 balls with 12 fours and 5 sixes. Agarwal also continued to impress, and ended the day on 84 from 183 balls, hitting 11 fours and 2 sixes. India were 202 for no loss when play ended due to rain.

After the innings, Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar praised Rohit's innings but also added that he will have to be consistent if he wishes of replicate the success of Virender Sehwag, with whom he is being compared.

"It's all about the mindset. If somebody wants to open the innings, then he needs to have a different kind of mindset.

"Sehwag had that different mindset. Be it a ODI or Test, he would more or less play in the same manner. That aggressive nature was always there. Again, it boils down to the capability and the potential of that particular player," Tendulkar was quoted as saying in an NDTV report.

Another India great VVS Laxman told host broadcaster Star Sports about the innings that Rohit seemed prepared for the challenge of opening.

"It was less of technique, more of application. He knew he had to go through the opening spell of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander who I thought bowled really well. They didn't give away anything to the Indian openers. The way he used his experience was great to see," Laxman said.

Evaluating Rohit's innings, Laxman, who himself opened in a few Tests with moderate success, added, "He left a lot of balls, played with a lot of patience. The way he used his crease against Philander was good to see. Once the spinners, he changed the gear. He played the trademark Rohit Sharma shots that we see in the shorter formats."

--Renin Wilben Albert

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