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regular-article-logo Saturday, 25 May 2024

Rohit & Gill show swag in run fest: India youngsters follow captain’s example to make merry, England have a mountain to climb

This new generation of Indian batters — Jaiswal and Gill — along with stagers like Rohit, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul form the new ‘Fab Five’ of Indian batting

Indranil Majumdar Dharamshala Published 09.03.24, 07:22 AM
Shubman Gill (right) completes his fourth Test hundred as captain and fellow centurion Rohit Sharma congratulates him during the Dharamsala Test on Friday.

Shubman Gill (right) completes his fourth Test hundred as captain and fellow centurion Rohit Sharma congratulates him during the Dharamsala Test on Friday. PTI

Rohit Sharma had shuffled a bit towards the off stump but Mark Wood was quick to notice the change in stance on his delivery stride. He pitched it slightly away from the leg stump thinking Rohit would miscue the attempted heave.

But the India captain anticipated the length, adjusted himself by backing away a few steps and walloped it through covers to bring up his century stand with Shubman Gill. All in the blink of an eye which made it look so easy.

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If the master was in such excellent touch on the second morning of the final Test, his admirer was not to be left behind. The circumstances also enthused Gill as he demolished James Anderson’s aspirations of converting the ‘English” conditions to their advantage.

Having targeted an inswinger into Gill’s body, the veteran pacer was ready to pitch it up and lure the batter into making a mistake. But Gill charged down, took him on the half volley and disdainfully hoisted him straight down the ground as if he was a spinner.

It prompted an exchange of words but Gill was in no mood to disclose any secret. “I think it would be better for both of us to keep that chat private,” he said.

If Yashasvi Jaiswal had bulldozed England’s bowlers in the last session on Wednesday, Gill provided those elegant touches which provided the contours for another hefty lead. The new India No. 3 seemed to be rehearsing his instincts for the ensuing IPL against an attack which is eager to pack up and return home.

This new generation of Indian batters — Jaiswal and Gill — along with stagers like Rohit, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul form the new ‘Fab Five’ of Indian batting.

The top 3 put the team firmly on way to achieving a 4-1 lead in the series; Rohit and Gill’s 171-run partnership laying the foundation for the 255-run lead at the close.

It would be grossly unfair to compare the current quintet with the original ‘Fab Five’ — Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman — who aggregated 53788 runs in 625 Tests.

Kohli has the lion’s share in both experience and runs in their total of 18098 in 253 Tests. But the young guns have shown the promise and tenacity to take it to the next level.

The way Rohit has stood up in crisis has been exemplary while Jaiswal’s dash and hunger are Sehwag-esque. Gill’s elegance and class have always set him apart.

It was warmer on Friday with temperatures hovering around 15°C.

Rohit was inspirational, he has showed the spark in the absence of Kohli and Rahul. Gill’s century was special since it came in front of his father, Lakhwinder Singh. He bowed and doffed his cap towards the VIP enclosure on reaching the landmark.

“It was the first time that he’s watching me play in an international. I’m hoping that he is proud of my effort today,” Gill said.

Ben Stokes’ golden arm dismissed Rohit, his first delivery since the Ashes Test at Lord’s. Anderson then showed his class, getting through Shu­bman Gill for his wicket
No. 699.

Devdutt Padikkal and Sarfaraz Khan’s 97-run stand followed, but it was the Kuldeep Yadav-Jasprit Bumrah’s unbroken ninth-wicket partnership which frustrated England.

The day though belonged to Rohit and Gill.

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