Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Rohit Sharma’s dismissal just a few overs before play ended on Day 4 has erased India’s chance of chasing down the mammoth target at the Sydney Test. The cricketer-turned-analyst said that Sharma should have taken more responsibility as the senior batsman in the side.
Rohit Sharma looked set for a big score on Day 4 of the India vs Australia Test. But he gave away his wicket in the final few overs, as his pull shot off Pat Cummins’ bowling found Mitchell Starc in the deep.
Speaking to Sony Sports Network while analysing the day’s proceedings, Manjrekar conceded that India’s chances of winning look bleak after Rohit Sharma’s departure.
"With Rohit Sharma around, there was the slightest possibility of India getting to the target. With Virat Kohli not there, the onus was on Rohit Sharma. So the wicket takes out the little hope of winning the game. If Virat Kohli were there, maybe Australians would have declared 30-40 runs later. Rohit Sharma’s dismissal takes out that glimmer of hope."
Set a daunting target of 407 by Australia, Rohit Sharma started brilliantly with Shubman Gill, scoring at a solid pace.
Sharma notched up his half-century in 95 deliveries, with the Indian dressing room visibly happy as he looked set for a big score. But just like the first innings, Rohit Sharma threw away his wicket after getting a start.
The batsman couldn’t help but take on a short ball bowled by Pat Cummins. Although he timed the ball well, his shot went straight to Mitchell Starc, with the Australian placed in the deep precisely for that shot.
Manjrekar praised Rohit Sharma-Shubman Gill opening combination
Rohit Sharma’s dismissal was preceded by that of his opening partner Shubman Gill. After he put up a great show of batting, Gill perished to a Josh Hazlewood delivery as he nicked one to the keeper.
Until then, India’s new-look combination was making the headlines for all the right reasons. The duo had batted for more than 20 overs for the second consecutive time, as they kept the scoreboard ticking.
Sanjay Manjrekar too agreed. He said that despite Rohit Sharma’s departure, the Indian team should be confident about their opening combination going into games in the future.
“Yes (India have found a good opening pair in Tests), we have got two very easy-on-the-eye opening batsmen. Rohit Sharma showed good temperament. When the ball starts swinging in England, what he will do, we will come to that on another day. With Shubman Gill, we saw another trait of him, the defensive block, he can do that as well with a lot of calmness. He can be positive in defence also.”
Despite losing both the openers on Day 4, India would be satisfied with their performance in comparison to other openers at their disposal. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill complemented each other well, while they also saw off the new ball on both occasions in this Test.
With the Tests against England set to begin from February, India have finally found a well-balanced combination.Published 10 Jan 2021, 15:00 IST