Former India batsman, Gautam Gambhir feels that Rohit Sharma’s blazing start in the first session of the second Chennai Test put England straightaway on the back foot, from which they could never recover.
Despite losing three wickets – including that of Virat Kohli – India posted 106 runs in the pre-lunch session as Rohit Sharma batted with alacrity from the outset racing to 80 runs off 78 balls before lunch on Day 1 on a difficult batting pitch.
While the pitch showed signs of turn from the first session, however, Gautam Gambhir feels that it was the best time to bat – and Rohit Sharma took full advantage of it as the track was going to deteriorate further.
“Rohit Sharma did the damage in the first session itself. If you ask any batsman, he would say that the first session was the best time to bat on this wicket. He took full advantage of it. I think India were 110/3, and if you are 80 not out in that, it shows you have already set the tone,” Gautam Gambhir told Star Sports.
“When the ball started gripping after that, he took his time. But he had already put England on the backfoot. No doubt, India lost three wickets, but if you had scored just 60-70, you would have given that session to England. But when you scored 110 runs in the first session, the game had gone far ahead,” he added.
The aggressive mindset is necessary when you are playing on such a wicket: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir says that the Rohit’s aggressive approach – which Rohit later revealed was pred-determined – was exactly what the doctor ordered while batting on such a track.
The 39-year-old lauds Rohit Sharma’s tactics while playing different bowlers: he used his gift of timing rather than sheer power versus the pacers, while deployed the sweep shot to nigh-perfection against the spinners. The right-hander made 161 runs – out of India’s total of 329 – with 18 fours and 2 sixes.
“The best thing was that when he was playing against the fast bowlers, he was not looking to hit the ball hard, but was only trying to time the ball. When he played the spinners on the first day, he used the sweep very well.
“I remember he stepped out and hit Moeen Ali for a straight six, but other than that, he looked in great control, and he had a game plan, which he also spoke about that he practised the sweep in the nets, and it was a wicket like that as well.
“The aggressive mindset is necessary when you are playing on such a wicket, which is going to further deteriorate from the first to the second day,” the former KKR captain further added.
The third Test, which is a Day-Night contest, commences on 24th February in Ahmedabad.