Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja And The Daddy Stand

Jadeja and Rohit out on a stand of 204 runs for the fourth wicket (AP Image)

Jadeja and Rohit out on a stand of 204 runs for the fourth wicket (AP Image)

Rohit, Jadeja put India in control with their 204–run partnership; The fourth-wicket stand is best in the series so far and should inspire the inexperienced batting unit

India were comfortably placed at 185/3 during the Tea break and Rohit Sharma’s double tap on Ravindra Jadeja’s left shoulder during their stroll back to the dressing clearly meant a job well done. The first wicketless session of the series couldn’t have come at a better time for the hosts as they, after electing to bat, got off to a horror start.

33/3 in the ninth over and with two centurions of the series – Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill – back in the hut, and two debutants – Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel – to follow, the task was cut out for the experienced left-right pair of Jadeja and Rohit.

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The series has been big on scoring rates, largely because of the way England have batted, but it hasn’t witnessed any good old daddy stands yet. Prior to this fourth-wicket 204-run stand, Shreyas Iyer and Jaiswal’s 90-run partnership at Vizag was the best for the hosts and England’s best came with Ben Foakes-Ollie Pope’s 112-run partnership in the Hyderabad Test.

There has been a double hundred from Jaiswal and nearly a double hundred (194) from Pope but even after those big knocks, the opposition has continued to chip away with wickets at regular intervals.

This is what makes Rohit-Jadeja stand, only the second double-century stand for India in Tests since 2019, all the more special as both, after surviving some shaky moments early on, never allowed England to make any inroads for over 54 overs.

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Ample sunshine, a gentle breeze across the ground and a true batting pitch were ideal conditions to cash in, and India’s two most experienced batters of the XI looked in no mood to throw it away.

Severe on spin

There was a shaky period for Rohit early on as Mark Wood peppered him with a lot of short deliveries, one which hit him on the helmet too, and kept throwing the bait for the pull.

Rohit was happy to play the waiting game and even when the pull came out, it was kept down for a single to Rehan Ahmed, who was one of the three fielders placed for the big-hit miscue in the deep on the leg-side.

From the other end, James Anderson stuck to the good-length spot and managed to trouble the Indian captain with his subtle movements and precise use of angles. Especially during his first couple of overs after the change of ends. It was a fiery start by England and Rohit gave an early impression that he wouldn’t let the spinners settle down.

The 36-year-old went after Tom Hartley early in his spell and didn’t stop even after getting dropped at first-slip by Joe Root. Out of the 131 he scored, 90 were against spin and the most – 43 – were scored off Hartley. Plenty of looseners by England spinners allowed both Rohit and Jadeja to collect some freebies.

The way the two applied themselves had all the ingredients of an old-fashioned grind but it didn’t feel like one as the run-rate during the partnership was 3.7 and the odd boundary, few sixes too, kept coming their way.

The partnership was driving India to control in cruise control before England went back to the short-ball plan vs a tiring Rohit. The field was set, much like it was during the morning session, and Wood still had enough in his tank even during his fourth spell of the day. The speed and intensity was right up there and the relentless burst continued.

England were hoping Rohit would make a mistake and it finally happened in the 64th over – third of Wood’s fourth spell – when the right-hander, rooted to his crease, got into an awkward position and top-edged the short delivery to Ben Stokes in the ring. Pumped-up celebrations in the England camp followed and they had everyone reason to celebrate as the Rohit, along with Jadeja, had frustrated them for most of the day.

The Indian camp, however, will certainly draw a lot of inspiration and confidence from the way Rohit and Jadeja went about doing business at the Niranjan Shah Stadium in Rajkot.

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