The Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill looked easy-on-the-eyes in both the innings of the third Test-match at Sydney Cricket Ground, and the former Indian Captain, Sunil Gavaskar, has backed the pair to be India's long-term option at the top of the order in Test cricket.
Touring in SENA countries, Opening has always been a matter of concern for Team India. During Team India’s previous tour to Australia, three different opening pairs were used, and the visitors have used 3 different combinations in as many Tests in the ongoing tour.
In the first Test-match of ongoing Border-Gavaskar Indian openers, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal struggled to score runs as they notched up the opening partnership of null and 7 respectively.
Prithvi Shaw was replaced by Shubman Gill in the second Test-match, who looked impressive on debut and scored 45 & 35*; while Mayank Agarwal struggled to find some form and was cleaned up for null in the first innings followed by 5 in the second in MCG Test.
Rohit Sharma, who joined the team ahead of the third-Test match was straightway drafted into the side as an opener in place of Mayank Agarwal. And the new opening pair of Gill and Rohit impressed in the Sydney Test, stitching two back-to-back fifty-plus stands against a top-quality Australian attack.
Both Gill and Rohit looked comfortable during their 71-run stand on Day 4 of the Sydney Test. While being solid in defense, both batsmen did not miss out on opportunities to keep the scoreboard moving.
Gill made 31 while Rohit hit his first fifty as a Test opener overseas before he went for pull-shot off Pat Cummins and threw his wicket away towards the end of the play.
Praising the duo, Sunil Gavaskar, said that Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma can be the long-term option as openers for India in Tests.
"What is important in an opening partnership is the partners should be made for each other. Sometimes you have one who is a very attacking player and one is solid. But here both have a very good defense, they both have fabulous shots. Shubman Gill has been impressive.” Sunil Gavaskar told Sony Six on Sunday.
"We all know how good a player Rohit Sharma is. He was also getting behind the line and played the ball very late, that was very, very impressive. On a fourth day pitch when the ball was turning just that little bit, the way they negotiated Nathan Lyon was also impressive. Yes, on the back of what we have seen, these two could be the opener pair to stick with." he added.
With their opening partnership of 70 & 71, the duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill became only the second Indian opening pair since Abid Ali and Farokh Engineer in 1968 to have two fifty-plus stands in a Test in Australia.
(Sony six Inputs)