India’s newest Test opener, Rohit Sharma, celebrated his promotion with a sparkling century against South Africa during the first Test in Visakhapatnam. The century was Rohit’s fourth in Tests and one which led India to a position of dominance at 202 without loss before bad light, followed by heavy rain forced early stumps on Day 1. Rohit smacked 12 boundaries and five sixes, bringing up the three-figure digit off 154 balls.
One over before tea, the umpires decided that the light wasn’t good enough to continue play. Shortly after the players returned to the dressing rooms, it began pouring down in Vizag. The covers were brought on, covering most of the ground but after one hour of constant rain, play was called off almost 90 minutes before the scheduled close of play.
Rohit emerged as the star for India. He began his knock with a boundary off the second ball – a cut that raced past the vacant gully region. He and fellow opener Mayank Agarwal played out the new ball, which offered some initial movement for the South Africa pacers. However, once the ball lost its shine, Rohit took control, batting with an impressive control rate of more than 90 percent and bringing up a half-century off 84 balls.
Rohit gave spinners the stick, scoring all his sixes against them. His first two sixes came off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt. On 81, Rohit waded back-to-back sixes off Piedt to enter the 90s. With a cut, Rohit came back for a double to become only the fourth Indian batsman to score a century in his first Test as opener, joining Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw.
It’s been the perfect two sessions for India ever since Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first on a surface that is likely to deteriorate quickly. Rohit and Agarwal also recorded India’s first century-plus stand in Tests in 24 innings – since their one-off Test against Afghanistan in June 2018. The two also added India’s first 200-run stand for the opening wicket in 81 innings – Dhawan and Murali Vijay had done so against Bangladesh in Fatullah in 2015.
This was also Rohit’s sixth consecutive fifty-plus score in India in addition to all four his centuries coming on home soil. His partner Agarwal is 14 short of a maiden hundred, batting on 84 off 183 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Brief Scores: India 202/0 (Rohit Sharma 115*, Mayank Agarwal 84*) vs South Africa