Rohit Sharma scored a masterful 115 in his maiden test innings as opener as India dominated Day 1 of the first test at Visakhapatnam. The hosts were at a commanding 202/0 before rain forced early stumps in the eastern coastal city.
Here are our talking points from the day’s proceedings.
A dream start for Rohit Sharma as test opener
India’s decision to open with Sharma was a hugely debated one in the lead up to this series. Many fans felt that the Men in Blue would’ve been better off blooding a younger opener, especially in light of the tough tour of New Zealand early next year.
Sharma is known for his weakness against the moving ball in the longest format of the game, and hadn’t exactly helped his cause with a two ball duck in the warm up game against the Proteas.
Today, he survived a probing opening spell from Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, with the former in particular causing him all sorts of trouble. To his credit, Sharma survived, and then cashed in against the spinners. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had said that they were looking for a Sehwag-like impact from Sharma and the Mumbai Indians star certainly delivered on that front today, with 5 sixes and 12 fours in his unbeaten 115.
This is the first double century stand against South Africa in over a decade- the last pair to do so were Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer back in 2008.
South Africa’s decision to play 3 spinners backfires
Somewhat surprisingly, South Africa opted to play three spinners and gave young Dolphin’s all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy his debut. India on the other hand, opted to go in with only two spinners- Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.
Between them, Muthusamy and Dane Piedt bowled only 12 of South Africa’s 59 overs and conceded 66 runs. They not only failed to pick up any wickets but were also unsuccessful in stemming the flow of runs. Keshav Maharaj toiled hard from one end, but didn’t get the support he needed from the other. Would the Proteas have been better served by taking a third pace option in the form of Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje?
A bad toss to lose for Faf du Plessis
The Proteas skipper would have ideally liked to win the toss and take first guard but his side will instead be batting last on this track. His bowlers were put to the sword on a hot day in Vizag, and this test already appears to be going on the same lines as the one India played against England at this very venue 3 years ago.
It’s early days in the series but the signs are looking ominous for the visitors.
Rain comes to South Africa’s rescue.
India would have really wanted to press home the advantage in the final session against a Proteas attack looking tired and bereft of ideas. Unfortunately for the home side, bad weather forced the players off the field in the 60th over of the day. From the Proteas point of view, it could not have come at a better time, and allows the visitors to regroup and come with a better game plan tomorrow.