Even the Gods couldn’t have scripted it better. Mumbai lad Rohit Sharma made the perfect Test debut that he’s been dreaming of as he struck a hundred to rescue India from crisis in the opening Test against the West Indies at Eden Gardens.
Rohit's unbeaten 228-ball 127 resurrected India after the hosts had been reduced to 83 for five on the second day of the ongoing match.
The Indians are currently in the drivers seat after ending Day 2 at 354/6 with Rohit and R Ashwin (92) well set to guide the team further.
Rohit has been in exceptional form in ODIs of late and by becoming a member of an elite, but growing, club of batsmen to score a century on Test debut has proved the selectors right. Rohit is the 14th Indian to score a century on debut and joined a club that has the likes of former skippers Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Mohammed Azharuddin.
It has been an astounding year for Rohit, who scored a double century in ODIs, captained the Mumbai Indians to IPL and Champion League crowns, got appointed captain of Mumbai Ranji team, before his feat Thursday.
The 26-year-old, whose bat sticker says 'TON', let his bat, in some measure, heal the wound of Sachin Tendulkar’s early departure.
The Mumbaikar, who was handed his Test cap by Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday, walked in at the fall of Llittle Master's wicket when India were 82 for the loss of four wickets. Under pressure with spinner Shane Shillingford dominating the proceedings, Rohit along with skipper MS Dhoni stitched a valuable 73-run partnership. He didn’t change his approach even after Dhoni’s untimely dismissal and consolidated India's position by stitching an invaluable stand with Ravichandran Ashwin.
Besides technique and temperament, Rohit's innings had its fair share of flair. He was flawless and built his knock brick by brick. Rohit also got to the century in style, gliding one past between first slip and gully. And, the ones bowled by Sheldon Cottrell, just before and immediately after the batsman got to the three-figure mark, were also spanked for fours on either side of the turf.
The magnitude of his achievement seems to have yet to sink in for the youngster, who conceded to being under pressure. Asked if he had any idea about what he had achieved today, Rohit, the 98th cricketer to score a century on debut, smiled and said ,"No, not really."
"There was a lot of pressure, we had lost five early wickets. Maybe, when I get back to the hotel room and relax, I'll look back on what I have done," added the 26-year-old.
Rohit, who struck 16 fours and one six, during his unbeaten knock, is playing in his maiden Test six years after playing his first ODI.
Having played 108 one-dayers before finally getting a Test call-up means he understands the importance of the knock. Rohit, who became only the third cricketer ever to smash an ODI double hundred in the recently-concluded series against Australia, said he never got frustrated by the wait he endured for his Test debut. "I was very focussed and I wanted to do it, was glad I could manage something like that today," he said.
"I'm glad I could manage the day and get the team to a good total. I'm thankful, another important day coming up tomorrow so let's hope it's a good one. A Test hundred is always a special one and getting on debut was more special," he added.
Two Indians have now scored a century on debut this year with Shikhar Dhawan smashing a record 187 runs against Australia in March. Incidentally, Dhawan’s knock was the highest individual score by an Indian on Test debut.
SOME OTHER RECORDS SET BY ROHIT SHARMA ON THURSDAY