India batting coach Vikram Rathour lauded openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill for providing a fine start against New Zealand in the first innings on day two of their World Test Championship final in Southampton.
“They (Kohli and Rahane) batted well. But I would give a lot of credit to Rohit and Gill because they started pretty well in challenging conditions - fresh wicket, overcast conditions. Credit to all of them, they showed a lot of restraint and discipline, and I think we have ended the day on a fine note,” he said in a virtual press conference.
After being put in on a pitch that had been under covers for two days, Rohit and Gill stitched a 62-run opening partnership. India was 146 for three with skipper Kohli (40 n.o.) and Ajinkya Rahane (29 n.o.) at the crease when bad light forced stumps.
Rathour said that Rohit and Gill are naturally aggressive batsmen and can help the team get brisk starts. “They can take an attack away when they come good. They put a lot of pressure on the bowling side. Unfortunately, both of them got out after getting set."
Rohit, who was out for 34 off 68, was good at leaving balls outside off. Gill countered the new ball challenge by batting outside the crease and played some delightful pulls off the front foot before being dismissed for 28 off 64. Rathour said the move helped batsmen negotiate the swing while keeping the scoreboard ticking. “I think it had both factors. Of course, countering the swing is important, but the discussion we have had as a team is that we need to be looking for runs wherever we can. If a loose ball is offered, we have to make it count. We could see it throughout the day. Though we showed discipline, we looked to score runs at every opportunity.”
With occasional stoppages due to bad weather likely to occur on the remaining days as well, Rathour said it would be important to approach the match in phases. “We are looking to play out each session, and if we can do that well, anything more than 250-plus would be a reasonable score in these conditions.”
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