Rohit Sharma, who’s twin centuries starred in India’s crushing 203-run victory over South Africa in the first Test at Visakhapatnam, said the key was to make the pacers bowl in short spells on the final day to keep them fresh.

Mohammed Shami, who picked up a five-wicket haul coupled with Ravindra Jadeja’s four-fer helped the hosts dismiss South Africa, chasing 395, for 191.

Shami, who knocked off four off his five dismissals by castling them, exploited the fifth day pitch to the full and blew away half of the South African batting order, including first innings centurion Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis.

“We wanted Shami and Ishant (Sharma) to be fresh in case there wasn’t too much for the spinners, which we saw happening towards the end. We decided that we will try to make the pacers bowl short spells of two to three overs,” Rohit, who was named Man of the Match for his centuries, said at the post-match press-conference.

 
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Expect the Hitman to come up with such gems. This one is for Shami 😜😁😂 #TeamIndia #INDvSA @paytm

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The Mumbai batsman also passed a cheeky comment on Shami. “We all know what Shami can do when he is fresh, along with some biryani,” Rohit said in typical tongue-in-cheek fashion.

Rohit dismissed all doubts about him opening a Test innings with his knocks at Vizag. He said the talks about him being given the opening slot ahead of the match didn’t really matter to him.

“I’ve protected myself with a shield around me for a long time now. All those things that happen outside doesn’t go past that shield. Eventually, I have to play and enjoy my game. It was my dream to play cricket and I am living that dream,” he said.

“When I was young, I never thought whether people will talk about me, and now that they are, I’ve protected myself with a pretty strong shield. Yes, I knew that at some stage I will open. That communication between the management and myself happened a long time ago.”