"He wasn't convincing even once" - Aakash Chopra on Rohit Sharma's game against the short ball in India's 1st innings of the WTC final
Aakash Chopra has highlighted Rohit Sharma's unconvincing game against the short ball before he was dismissed by a fuller delivery in India's first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Rohit managed 15 runs as India ended Day 2 at The Oval on Thursday (June 8) at 151/5. Australia were bowled out for 469 earlier in the day and are ahead by a mammoth 318 runs heading into the third day's play.
While reflecting on India's batting in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra pointed out that Rohit had a troubled time in the middle against short-pitched bowling:
"When you (India) came to bat here, it was an interesting passage of play, where Rohit Sharma tried to pull every ball that was bowled short. He wasn't convincing even once. It's not that he was hitting sixes."
The former Indian opener added that Rohit has had contrasting results against the short ball in red-ball and while-ball cricket:
"This has been a point of discussion in this entire cycle that no one bowls him bouncers in white-ball cricket as he hits them into the stands but the bouncers trouble him at times in Test cricket, and has been dismissed by bouncers quite often as well."
However, Chopra observed that the Indian skipper's troubled stay at the wicket was eventually ended by a pitched-up delivery:
"Here he wasn't dismissed by a bouncer but looked a little uncomfortable. Then there was an incoming delivery that hit his pad hard. He didn't even take a review, goes out and India loses their first wicket and their captain."
Rohit played a few ungainly pull shots which fell just short or away from the long-leg fielder. He was trapped in front of the wickets by Pat Cummins after having added 30 runs for the opening wicket with Shubman Gill.
"India were staring down the barrel" - Aakash Chopra on Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara's dismissals
Aakash Chopra pointed out that Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara's almost identical dismissals left India in a precarious position:
"Shubman Gill played a beautiful drive at the other end but then he shouldered arms and Boland's ball came in and hit his stumps. You then lost your third batter in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara and India were staring down the barrel."
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Virat Kohli was dismissed by a virtually unplayable delivery:
"Kohli looked convincing till the time he batted but he got an unplayable ball from Mitchell Starc. Could he have survived that delivery? If you want to take it too far, you can say that he could have brought his gloves down but in real time when a guy is going to play a 150 kph delivery, he doesn't expect this to happen."
Chopra praised Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja for stringing together a 71-run fifth-wicket partnership before the latter was dismissed by Nathan Lyon. However, he highlighted that Rahane was fortunate when an lbw decision had to be reversed after replays showed that Pat Cummins had overstepped.