Former India spinner, Pragyan Ojha deviates from the common opinion and feels that Rohit Sharma should have been given the Man of the Match award and not Ravichandran Ashwin in the recently concluded Chennai Test, in which India emerged victorious by a massive 317 runs margin to level the series against England.
Pragyan Ojha asserts that it was Rohit’s hundred on Day 1 on a difficult batting track. The opener alone made 161 runs – from 231 balls – out of India’s total of 329, which Ojha reckons set the platform for the victory.
“It was Rohit Sharma for me. It is not because of anything but the way the game was poised. If you look at the first innings was very important and everybody knew this wicket is gonna favor the bowler more than the batsmen and it deteriorated.
“Everybody will question saying that Ashwin got a brilliant hundred. Yes, he got a brilliant hundred but you have to look at it,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.
By the time he got the hundred, India was far ahead: Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha further explains that India already put the game in their bag in the first innings – and Ashwin’s hundred didn’t embolden much to an already winnable lead in the second innings. The 34-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator maintains that Rohit’s ton in the first innings was more crucial than Ashwin’s in the second.
“Does that hundred add up to India’s win or loss? No, it doesn’t because, by the time he got the hundred, India was far ahead. Ashwin applied himself, the way he played. Not taking any credit for him but the most important thing is that hundred from Rohit Sharma, that set the tone for the Test match.
Imagine he got a 60 and see the scorecard and see what that second innings would have been. That would have been that much important but in the first innings, he made sure that the second innings is totally out of the picture. because they had that kind of lead,” Pragyan Ojha added.
Apart from the brilliant match-winning performances from R Ashwin and Rohit Sharma, India would be pleased to see the fifty from the bat of Ajinkya Rahane, and the glovework from Rishabh Pant; add to it Axar Patel’s five-for in the second innings on debut.
The third Test – a pink-ball Day-Night contest – will be played in Ahmedabad from 24th February.