India captain Rohit Sharma said he was happy to score a century and lead his team to victory against Australia on his return to Test cricket, saying that he is used to making comebacks now.
India beat Australia by an innings and 132 runs in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in Nagpur on Saturday with Sharma scoring a crucial 120 in India’s first innings.
“Yeah, it was (a special hundred), considering a lot of things actually. Start of the series, very important where we stand in the championship table, it was important for us to start well. We know playing a series like this it’s important to start well. I was happy I could put up a performance which could help the team,” Sharma said at the post-match presentation.
The Nagpur Test was only Sharma’s third as a captain after he was forced to miss the series’s against South Africa and Bangladesh due to injuries.
“I was unfortunate that I had to miss a few Test matches because of injuries but I’m happy to be back playing and doing well for the team. Since I was appointed as a Test captain, I played only two Tests, I got Covid in England and then I had to miss three Test matches in South Africa because of injury and then again a freak injury in Bangladesh. Things can happen when you are playing for a long time. But I’ve had injuries in the past so I know how to come back from those and be ready. I was pretty much ready for this one as well,” he added.
Sharma was the top scorer of the match with only Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel otherwise going past the 50-run mark. Sharma said growing up playing on the turning pitches in Mumbai helped him come up with an effective game plan to score on a turning pitch.
“The last few years the kind of pitches we have been playing in India, you have got to have some sort of application, some sort of clear mindset and plan about how you want to go about and get runs. Since I started opening, I have tried to figure out what can threaten me when I am batting and working out my methods of scoring runs,” he said.
“I have grown up a lot in Mumbai on surfaces which turn a lot. I feel you need to be slightly unorthodox as well. You need to use your feet and try and get to the pitch of the ball, at the same time put pressure on the bowlers. You can’t let the bowlers bowl six ball on the spot. You have to do something different, and that can be your way of doing it. It can be stepping down the ground, sweeping it, reverse sweep, going over the top…there are so many things you can do. It is important when you play on pitches like that you need to understand what are the things you can do and not look at anyone else.”
Total of 24 of the 30 wickets to fall in the match were taken by spinners. However, Sharma credited the his fast-bowling duo of Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj for giving India the early edge by dismissing Australia’s openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja early in the first innings.
“I think it was the first two overs from the seamers to be honest, 2 for 2. To start a game like that, you are pretty much in the ascendency. Because when you have two down for few runs on the board, the opposition is always under pressure because we know we have quality in our spin department but the seamers, not to forget, can be quite threatening on a surface like that.
“Shami and Siraj have both been in great form. They know how to exploit these conditions. Obviously having that first innings total is quite important. I am glad all our batters could put up a show, get 400 and enough lead then the spinners came into the picture,” Sharma said.
The second Test of the series will take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi from February 17.