Along with KL Rahul, he kept the four-pronged home team attack at bay.
Rohit Sharma looked solid in defence under overcast skies before indulging in his favourite pull-shot to get out at the stroke of lunch with India reaching 97 for one on day two of the first Test against England.
The duo did well enough to keep the four-pronged home team attack at bay but Rohit’s attempt to dispatch Ollie Robinson’s short ball behind the square leg boundary didn’t quite work out as he threw it away after doing all the hard work. Rohit and Rahul are India’s 10th opening combination since 2018 but possibly the most effective since Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer walked in unison during the “Summer of 2007”.
The partnership has certainly put England on the back-foot with a deep point being stationed at times to stop the flow of boundaries.
They patiently waited for the loose deliveries and played some delightful drives, keeping the scoreboard ticking with Rahul blending his caution and aggression in equal measure to remain undefeated on 48 off 124 balls. Rohit made 36 off 107 balls.
Their gameplan was simple and that was to see off the first hour with minimum risks. Rohit, in particular, showed his technical prowess getting right behind the moving deliveries.
He was ready to play the waiting game, something that’s not exactly his characteristic, showing how badly he wants to get a significant score in overseas conditions.
But when the opportunity presented itself, he did show Ollie Robinson (1/19 in 11.3 overs) as to why he is rated so highly amongst his peers with a superb bowler’s back-drive and when required opened his bat face to glide it between point and gully or flick one off his hips.
Rahul’s inside-out off-drive to an inswinger from Sam Curran was no less delightful.
Rahul, who came into the match with runs behind his back, was on 11 in his first 60 balls but then hit some exquisite square and cover drives when the ball stopped moving around after 30-over mark.
He understood that he had the game to accelerate and did just that during the last 45 minutes.
While they were cautious but at no point did they lose out on scoring chances with Rohit (six fours) and Rahul (eight fours) sharing the spoils. The intent to keep the scoreboard moving was always there with those tap and run singles.
Once Sam Curran came into bowl, the lack of express pace helped them as both lunged forward with pronounced front-press to beat the off-side cordon.
The desperation was palpable in home team’s bowlers as Robinson wasted a DRS to a non-existent leg before decision.