Rohit Sharma scores dogged century on day 1 of Rajkot Test draws level with AB de Villiers

The Rajkot Test witnessed a phenomenal display of resilience and leadership from India’s skipper Rohit Sharma as he crafted a determined century to steer Team India out of an early crisis on the first day of the third Test. Sharma’s unwavering focus and solid temperament rescued India from a shaky start at 33/3 and placed them on a steadier path in partnership with the skillful Ravindra Jadeja, who contributed yet another half-century to his Test career achievements.

With his 11th hundred in the longest format, Rohit has not only bolstered his track record but also etched his name alongside cricket’s luminaries, attaining his 47th international century—a feat that has allowed him to move past Joe Root’s 46 and match the international hundreds scored by the renowned AB de Villiers. The 36-year-old stalwart, with his remarkable performance, has proven once more why he is one of the game’s modern greats.

The day’s play began with England asserting dominance, their bowlers setting the pace and causing early trouble for the Indian batsmen. Winning the toss and opting to bat might have seemed a favourable choice for Rohit, but Mark Wood’s lethal pace and precision complicated matters for the hosts. Wood, who was back in England’s Playing XI for this Test, quickly dismissed the previous Test’s two-time centurion, setting back the Indian top order.

Adding to the visitors’ early breakthroughs, an in-form Shubman Gill, who walked in with high expectations after a commendable hundred in the Vizag Test, was sent back to the pavilion without scoring. Gill’s aspirations crumbled as he edged a delivery to Ben Foakes, leaving India in a precarious position and setting the stage for Rohit Sharma’s heroics.

The Indian batting line-up comprised a combination of experience and fresh talent, with two debutants Yashasvi Jaiswal and Dhruv Jurel stepping into the fray. Alongside stalwarts like Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah, they aimed to cement India’s stance at home against a strong English side led by Ben Stokes. Mohammed Siraj completes the Indian bowling attack, rounding off a team blending youth and experience.

England, matching India’s intensity, fielded a balanced team with a potent blend of seasoned campaigners and exciting new talent. Anchored by the dependable Joe Root, the squad featured skilled batsmen like Ben Duckett and Jonny Bairstow, able to shift the match’s dynamics swiftly. With Ben Foakes behind the stumps and a bowling arsenal led by the experienced James Anderson, complemented by the fiery Mark Wood and supported by newcomers like Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley, England’s Playing XI was poised for a competitive outing.

Rohit Sharma’s century turns the tide of the day, carving a narrative of tenacity and counter-attack. His innings emerged as the focal point of India’s fightback, a testament to his ability to adapt and lead from the front. His remarkable century, along with Jadeja’s vital half-century, eventually shift the momentum, giving India a fighting chance in what promises to be an enthralling contest between two cricketing giants.

Backed by a roaring crowd and showcasing a determined partnership, Sharma’s poised century promises to be a defining moment in the Test. Whether it sets the foundation for an Indian stronghold or provides an impetus for England to fight back with equal gusto, remains to be seen as the match unfolds over the coming days.

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