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Dharamsala Test: Rohit, Gill hundreds flatten England in record-breaking batting show

Ben Stokes’s dream delivery to dismiss Rohit Sharma on Day 2 of the 5th Test in Dharamsala told the story of England in the ongoing series. Stokes decided he would bowl for the first time in the series on potentially the penultimate day of the last encounter and he managed to disturb the woodwork of a well-set India captain, who was batting on 103. It was a peach of a delivery from Stokes, but the moment of magic from the England captain came a bit too late and had very little meaning to the overall picture, much like most of what Stokes has done despite all the hype from the English media.

India’s batters continued to show on Day 2 the value of putting a price on their wickets on what remained a very good batting pitch at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium on Friday, March 8. Rohit and Shubman Gill did not put a foot wrong as they carried on from where they left on Thursday evening, adding 129 runs without losing a wicket in the first session. The two batters made excellent use of a golden opportunity to score a Test hundred, something that even the most consistent England batter Zak Crawley has failed to do throughout the series.

Rohit Sharma hit his 12th Test hundred and his 4th as an opener against England in the longest format of the game. It was Rohit’s second Test hundred of the series as the India captain led from the front, proving his naysayers wrong once again. He had a determined Shubman Gill for support from the other end. The young man, cheered on by his father from the stands, played arguably the most fluent knock of this series and his career as a No. 3 batter. Gill tore into the England bowling unit, playing Virat Kohli-esque drives as he treated the England bowlers with disdain and did so without taking risks.

It was Shubman Gill’s 2nd hundred of the series as the 24-year-old repaid the faith that the team management showed in him and cemented his place at the crucial No. 3 spot. Notably, it was Gill’s first fifty-plus score in the first innings in this series as the young batter completed the journey of having had his place in the side under threat, to becoming the only second batter in the series after Yashasvi Jaiswal to go past 450 runs.

While Rohit and Gill fell in quick succession after the Lunch break, India showed they are better equipped to handle pressure with the bat as Sarfaraz Khan, in his 3rd Test, and debutant Devdutt Padikkal added 97 runs for the 5th wicket to make sure England had a mountain to climb in Dharamsala if they were to avoid going down 1-4 in the series.

India sealed an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series after winning a thriller in Ranchi, but there was no let-up in intensity with the bat on the first two days. Each of the 5 batters in the Indian top-order scored at least a fifty, a new record for India against England in Tests, as the hosts piled up the pressure on England, who rode on Shoaib Bashir’s relentless spell to take something away from an otherwise gruelling second day’s play in the hill station.

Published By:

Akshay Ramesh

Published On:

Mar 8, 2024

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