Sydney, Jan 8 (IANS) Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill on Thursday became India’s first opening pair in 11 years to bat out 20 overs outside Asia. Gill and Rohit added 70 runs in 27 overs on Friday, with the latter getting dismissed on the last ball of the 27th over for a 77-ball 26. Gill went on to score 50 off 101 balls.
The two ensured that No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara and No. 4 Ajinkya Rahane got an old ball to bat against. Incidentally, India, bothered by the failure of one opener or the other, have used six different pairs to open in the last six Tests against Australia.
In the first Test of the ongoing series at the Adelaide Oval, they fielded Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal while in the second Test, they went in with Gill and Agarwal.
While Shaw was dismissed in the first and the fourth overs of the two innings of the first Test, Agarwal’s early dismissals in the second innings (first and fifth overs) didn’t let India develop a strong opening partnership.
On the last tour of Australia too, the openers struggled to get going as a pair. India tried three opening pairs across four Tests with Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal batting for the maximum number of overs — 18.5 overs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
India had tried KL Rahul and Murali Vijay in the first two Tests of that 2018-19 series but the farthest they could go was 18.2 overs in the second innings of the Adelaide Test.