“Sixy” Sharma goes wham-bang and India wins by a huge margin

By Kersi Meher-Homji

There were many heroes behind India’s massive 203 run victory over South Africa in the first Test at Visakhapatnam yesterday but Rohit ‘Sixy’ Sharma was outstanding.

Opening India’s innings he scored 176 with six sixes in the first innings and 127 with seven sixes in the second. Thirteen sixes by one batsman in a single match is a Test record. Shabash Sharma!

Others to contribute to India’s sensational win were:

. Opener Mayank Agarwal hit a double century (215 runs with six sixes) adding 317 runs with Sharma for the first wicket.

. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 7 for 145 in the first innings. He took only one wicket in the second innings but that enabled him to reach his 350th Test wicket in his 66th Test. Thus he equalled Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of reaching this landmark of 350 wickets in 66 Tests.

. Stylish but nervous batsman Cheteshwar Pujara played a slow-slow fast-fast innings of 81 in the second innings. He remained on four runs for what seemed an eternity then smashed fours and sixes.

. In the second innings fast medium bowler Mohammad Shami captured 5 for 35 and left-hand spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja 4 for 87 to enable India to win by a big margin.

South Africa also had their heroes.

Opening batsman Dean Elgar hit 160 gallant runs enriched by four sixes, adding 115 runs with skipper Faf du Plessis (55) for the fifth wicket and 164 with Quinton de Koch (111) for the sixth.

In reply to India’s mammoth total of 7 declared for 502, South Africa was struggling at 4 for 63 but Elgar, du Plassis and Koch took them to 431, trailing India by 71 runs.

India again declared at 4 for 323, setting the visitors 395 to win in little over a day. They again collapsed to lose 8 for 70 but recovered somewhat through tail-enders Senuran Muthusamy scoring 49 not out in his Test debut and number ten batsman Dane Piedt top-scoring with 56. They added 91 runs for the ninth wicket. But Shami put an end to this resistance and India triumphed by 203 runs.

This was India’s third successive Test win by more than 200 runs. Sharma was voted Man of the Match. At the presentation he said, “Thanks to everyone for giving me that opportunity but the focus was on winning the match. The communication to me happened a couple of years ago that I might open at some stage.

“So even when I wasn’t playing Tests, I was batting against new balls in the nets. No matter what ball you play, red or white, if you are starting the innings, you need to be careful. When the ball is doing a little bit, you have to assess the situation. That’s what my game is all about, a bit of caution and a bit of aggression. The whole focus was to go out there and have fun.”

Victorious captain Virat Kohli appeared delighted as he said, “I think the wicket played really good for the first three days. We lost one session so it was going to be a bit tougher. But once you have 500 on the board, it’s difficult for the opposition. Mayank and Rohit played brilliantly. Pujara too in the second innings. It was a hard grind though because of the weather and the pitch slowing down.

“It’s all about the attitude. If fast bowlers step out thinking that spinners are going to do the job, then it’s not going to happen. But fast bowlers have been brilliant in India as well. They might prefer shorter spells but it’s all about wanting to do the best for the team. Jaddu [Jadeja] and Ash [Ashwin] again bowled really really well. Ash in the first innings especially, given the conditions and Jadeja in the second taking those quick wickets. But Shami has been a wicket-taker for us in the second innings for quite some time now.”

The second Test starts at Pune on Thursday the 10th October.

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Posted by on Oct 7 2019. Filed under Community, Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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