Rohit Sharma played a blazing 161-run knock in India's first innings of the second Test in Chennai. The Indian opener was particularly aggressive at the start of his innings, scoring 80 runs off just 78 deliveries in the pre-lunch session.
While reviewing the second Test on Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir pointed out that the Mumbaikar had given the hosts the early initiative with his attacking innings.
"Rohit Sharma did the damage in the first session itself. If you ask any batsman, he would say that the first session was the best time to bat on this wicket. He took full advantage of it. I think India were 110/3, and if you are 80 not out in that, it shows you have already set the tone," said Gambhir.
The former Indian opener observed that Rohit Sharma's domination of the England attack ensured the hosts went to the lunch interval firmly in the ascendancy despite losing three wickets.
"When the ball started gripping after that, he took his time. But he had already put England on the backfoot. No doubt, India lost three wickets, but if you had scored just 60-70, you would have given that session to England. But when you scored 110 runs in the first session, the game had gone far ahead," added Gambhir.
"Rohit Sharma used the sweep very well" - Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir lauded Rohit Sharma for the way he handled the England seamers and spinners.
"The best thing was that when he was playing against the fast bowlers, he was not looking to hit the ball hard, but was only trying to time the ball. When he played the spinners on the first day, he used the sweep very well," said Gambhir.
The cricketer-turned-commentator also said that the aggressive approach adopted by Rohit Sharma paid him rich dividends on a pitch that assisted the spinners more as the match progressed.
"I remember he stepped out and hit Moeen Ali for a straight six, but other than that, he looked in great control, and he had a game plan, which he also spoke about that he practised the sweep in the nets, and it was a wicket like that as well. The aggressive mindset is necessary when you are playing on such a wicket, which is going to further deteriorate from the first to the second day," concluded Gambhir.
Rohit Sharma's century and his 162-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane helped Team India recover after they were reduced to 86/3 at one stage.
The Indian limited-overs vice-captain will hope to continue in the same vein in the next two Tests and help India qualify for the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.