Rohit Sharma: My partnership with Rahane was crucial

India's Rohit Sharma became only the fourth batsman to hit a double hundred in both Test and ODI cricket and he addressed the media after the day's play.

File Photo - Rohit Sharma said: "Opening the batting is a different challenge compared to batting at No. 6. It's just about how you prepare yourself ... how you talk to yourself about what you want to go out there and achieve"   -  Getty Images

Sadly for South Africa, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that its premier fast bowler on this tour, Kagiso Rabada was bowling like a dream on the first day of the Test match. It didn't matter that for the first time, in three Tests, it was in a position to bowl India out but couldn't.

Because between its flickers of hope and reality, stood Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. Both batsmen scored at a strike-rate of above 60 in a Test match without playing a single shot in anger.

The beauty of Rohit's maiden double ton and Rahane's 11th Test century lies in how, despite not being savage in nature, their systematic dismantling of the opposition attack, chipped away at their mental strength and self-belief, leaving them with no option but to wait for the runs to mount and declaration to come.

READ| IND vs SA: Rohit, Rahane run riot as India takes control in Ranchi

"We (Rohit and Rahane) have played a lot together so there is good understanding between us. Our partnership was quite crucial," Rohit said at the end of day's play.

Rohit, who became only the fourth batsman to hit a double hundred in Test and ODI cricket, weighed in on the challenge of opening the batting on a wicket where there was some assistance for the fast bowlers initially.

"Opening the batting is a different challenge compared to batting at No. 6. It's just about how you prepare yourself ... how you talk to yourself about what you want to go out there and achieve," he said.  

"There's nothing, in particular, I've done in terms of technique but of course I know the basics of the game; what you need yo do as an opener regardless of the format because the new ball does something irrespective of the conditions ... We saw in Ranchi and Pune it did quite a bit. 

"You have to have some understanding about your game: which ball to play and which to leave... I was just trying to be mindful of that. I allowed myself some time instead of going after the bowlers straightaway because against the new ball, it's not a good idea."

Rohit showered praise on Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who brought up his first Test hundred at home in three years. "We have seen Ajinkya over the years, how he has taken his Test career forward and he has always done well under pressure," Rohit said about his Mumbai teammate. 

"It just goes to show how mentally strong he is and how much he likes to dig in and bail the team out of trouble... and he has done that not just in India but overseas as well. Rahane scoring runs is great news for the team because if your middle order is strong, then regardless of the situation... one guy will put his hand up. I am happy he scored a hundred," he added.