India vs South Africa | Was Told I Might Open in Test Two Years Ago: Rohit
Coming into the first Test match against South Africa, one of the talking points for the Indian cricket team was how Rohit Sharma would fare at the top of the order after he had been picked in place of KL Rahul.
Rohit’s Test career up until this game had not seen him do too well, but pushed to the top of the order to face the new ball with Mayank Agarwal he responded with two back to back centuries.
The Mumbaikar, who was named player of the match, let everyone in on a secret when he said he had been preparing for this for the best part of two years.
“The communication to me happened a couple of years ago that I might open at some stage. So even when I wasn't playing Tests, I was batting against the new balls in the nets,” Rohit explained at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Well accustomed to opening the batting in white-ball cricket, this was the first time Rohit came up the order in Test match cricket.
“No matter what ball you play, red or white, if you are starting the innings, you need to be careful. When the ball is doing a little bit, you have to access the situation.”
And like he’s done it so well in limited overs cricket, Rohit waited it out and got his eye in before putting the foot on the pedal in both innings. He finished with 176 in the first innings and then 127, stumped by Quinton de Kock off Keshav Maharaj on both occasions.
Co-incidentally, this was also the first time an Indian batsman was dismissed stumped in both innings.
“That's what my game is all about, a bit of caution and a bit of aggression. The whole focus was to go out there and have fun.”
Rohit also finished with the most sixes hit by a batsman in one Test as he hit 13 maximums, one more than Wasim Akram’s tally of 12 in 1996.