The newly appointed opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill has joined a list of elite players, in their very first match opening together.
Sharma and Gill, after their opening stand of 71 runs in the second innings of the ongoing Test in Sydney against Australia, became only the third Asian opening pair to make a 50+ runs partnerships in both the innings of a Test in Australia.
In the first innings, the right-handed duo put on a 70-run opening partnership; Shubman Gill registered his maiden Test fifty.
Farokh Engineer and Syed Abid Ali – who put on 56 and 83 in 1968 in Sydney – and Sri Lanka’s Chandika Hathurusingha and Sanath Jayasuriya – who put on in 1996 in Adelaide – are the only other two Asian opening pairs to record opening stand of more than 50 runs in each innings in a Test match Down Under.
Rohit Sharma scores fifty on return; both the openers fell before stumps on Day 4
The fourth day of the third Test started poorly for India, as Hanuma Vihari dropped Marnus Labuschagne on the second ball of the day. India was made to pay for it as the bowlers couldn’t gain any momentum; a couple of more catches were dropped.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith went to make their respective half-centuries after one noticed a fifty and another a hundred in the first innings. Tim Paine, and Cameron Green, who made his maiden Test fifty, piled on quick runs before the Aussie skipper declared the innings at Tea at the score of 312/6, setting the visitors an almost unscalable target of 407.
India couldn’t have asked for a better start after toiling in the field for 87 overs during Australia’s second innings. Rohit Sharma, who is returning to international cricket and hasn’t played Test cricket since 2019, shut down the critics who have questioned his overseas numbers in red-ball cricket.
The opener made a patient half-century but got dismissed, unfortunately, playing his famous pull shot as he hit a Pat Cummins short delivery straight to Mitchell Starc at fine leg. Before Rohit’s wicket, the half-centurion in the first innings, Gill was dismissed by a jaffa from Josh Hazlewood for 31.
Senior middle-order batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, similar to Day 2, took the team further unscathed to the stumps. Both the players have a massive task in front of them on Monday morning; surely, nobody will question their strike rate on Day 5 as India look to save the match.