Dom Sibley faced 286 deliveries on the first day of the first Test between India and England in Chennai. The opener negotiated Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma's new-ball bowling impressively before freeing his arms a bit against Team India's inexperienced spin duo of Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain lauded England for selecting a defensive player like Sibley in the playing XI.
"Sibley offers the kind of approach to opening the batting that the Test side have not seen since Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss. I really admire the route England have chosen in selecting players such as Sibley who occupy the crease and look to build innings," wrote Hussain.
Hussain, who explained how Dom Sibley countered the Indian bowlers, went on to add that England skipper Joe Root is a "great example" to the opener. Root remained unbeaten on 128 on Friday.
"On Friday, he showed several — a couple of variations of the sweep, a willingness to come down the pitch to clip through midwicket and opening the face of the bat to hit through the offside... He's no longer getting caught in that batting no-man's land. He is either fully forward smothering the ball, or rocking back to cut or punch through the offside. Root is a great example to Sibley, proof that whether you've played 10 Test matches or 100 the best international players are constantly looking at areas for improvement," added Hussain.
Dom Sibley has taken his game to another level: Nasser Hussain
Playing his 15th Test, Dom Sibley is still not an automatic choice in the England team. He failed to cross double digits in the first three innings in Sri Lanka. However, the 25-year-old came back strong in the final innings, scoring an unbeaten half-century against the Lankans.
Nasser Hussain stated that with his newfound prowess against spin bowling, Dom Sibley has taken his game to "another level".
"He didn't try to sweep Ashwin, a difficult stroke to play against him at the best of times because of the over spin and bounce he generates. He simply waited for India's less experienced bowlers, Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar, to come on, happy to attack them with sweeps and use of his feet. You cannot be passive against all five bowlers because the innings goes nowhere. But Sibley's tactical judgment of when and against whom to take risks was an example of how he has taken his game on to another level this winter," said Hussain.
Dom Sibley has certainly looked like an improved player in Chennai. However, the real test lies in England's second innings, when the wicket will crack and India's spinners will have their tails up.