After a dismal show with the bat in the series opener, Rohit Sharma silenced his doubters by scoring his seventh Test century on the first day of the second Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
India won the toss and elected to bat first in the morning but soon suffered a setback because of Shubman Gill’s early departure to pacer Olly Stone.
Afterwards, Rohit added 85 runs for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara and appeared to be steering India to a good position before the spinners struck. First, Jack Leach tossed one up to get Pujara edge one to Ben Stokes at slip before Moeen Ali scalped the prize wicket of skipper Virat Kohli just before lunch break.
In the second session, Rohit continued his fine show of form and brought up his ton against a spin-heavy bowling attack of the opposition. During his 130-ball hundred, the 33-year-old opener hit 14 boundaries and two humongous sixes.
Rohit is currently joined by Ajinkya Rahane in the middle and both of them have stitched a valiant fifty-run fourth-wicket partnership.
WATCH – A Rohit double pull shot on display
One went for a six and the other for a boundary. The @ImRo45 pull shot was in full flourish in two consecutive balls.
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 13, 2021
After Rohit reached his hundred, he became the first India player to score each of his first seven centuries at home. He also became the only player to have tons in all formats against four teams, namely England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.
Rohit also has the second-highest Test batting average at home (84.94) behind the great Donald Bradman (98.22). He is followed by George Headley (77.56) in third place.
Well played @ImRo45 One of most satisfying century in challenging conditions. Also shows the importance of positive intent, decisive footwork when batting on a tough pitch. Now convert this into a biggie. #INDvsENG #class #elegance @StarSportsIndia pic.twitter.com/h9yGqmKJvs
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 13, 2021
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) February 13, 2021
Ahead of the second Test, vice-captain Rahane had also backed Rohit.
“Rohit is an important member of our team. A big score doesn’t mean you have to make 100 or 150. In Australia, he batted well, made important contributions. See if someone has one off-day, plays 3-4 bad innings, it doesn’t mean that he is a bad player. You have to back your player,” Rahane told the media on Thursday.
India made three changes to their playing XI with left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Axar Patel making his debut while pacer Jasprit Bumrah was rested.
In-form Mohammed Siraj returned to the playing XI along with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who replaced Washington Sundar to play his first Test in two years.