A day after he was dropped from the squad for the first two Tests, Rohit Sharma responds with an audacious century against Ricky Ponting and Co; Virat Kohli, too, slams 105, Badrinath and Yuvraj fail
MUMBAI: If the national selectors were apprehensive about the ability of younger players taking on the No.1 Test team in the world, then Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli went a fair distance to remove any doubts. A day after he was dropped from the Test side, Sharma made 105 against the touring Australians. Sharma was part of the Test side that lost the series in Sri Lanka, but he didn’t get a game.
It was a knock that questioned the logic of picking the team for the first two Tests even before the first ball of the tour game was played.
Though one good knock cannot be the yardstick to judge a player, current form suggests that Sharma is the man in form with just a week to go before the first Test in Bangalore.
Moreover, both Sharma and Kohli exposed the lack of depth in the Australian spin attack. However, Subramanium Badrinath, who is part of the 15-man squad for the first two Tests, just managed two runs after facing 21 balls.
Sharma hit off-spinner Jason Kreja to the deep mid-wicket boundary to move from 92 to 98. He had given Kreja the similar treatment to enter the 90s. He brought up his hundred shortly when he drove Michael Clarke through mid-off to the boundary.
Krejza, the off-spinner went for 6.15 runs per over and did not look like taking a wicket, while Michael Clarke, who is at best a handy spinner, failed to make an impression.
However, the dismissal of Wasim Jaffer, Yuvraj Singh, S Badrinath and Aakash Chopra to the Australian quicks made it clear that Ricky Ponting will reply heavily on his pacemen to deliver the blows in the four-Test series.
In all, Sharma hit 12 boundaries and two sixes. Kohli hit 14 boundaries and a six. Kohli was unfortunate to be given leg-before-wicket to a reverse swinging ball from Brett Lee that seemed to be going down the leg-side.
The Board President’s XI finished Day One at 371 for six wickets
Losing three quick wickets in the morning session put the President’s XI in a spot of bother but Rohit forged a 61-run stand with his skipper Yuvraj Singh (29) to stem the rot.
Parthiv Patel (49 batting) also made hay, while Irfan Pathan was batting at 17 when stumps were drawn. The visitors were sans all-rounder Shane Watson, who had been laid low by viral fever.
Onus was on Chopra and Jaffer (19) to vindicate Yuvraj’s decision to bat first on a strip that promised a run-feast and they did not start badly. Occasional discomforts notwithstanding, they went on to put together 41 runs before Stuart Clarke removed Jaffer.
Mitchell Johnson then trapped Chopra and 10 runs later, Badrinath fell to Peter Siddle, leaving the side reeling at 59 for three.