2nd Test: Rohit Sharma brings stability to the top

Rohit Sharma has helped India resolve the problem at the top of the batting order with the right-handed batsman scoring consistently and helping set up a base with solid opening partnerships.

Sharma, who started opening during the 2019 home series against Bangladesh and South Africa, has started opening overseas only this year.

After missing the first two Tests in Australia due to late arrival from India, he played the last two Tests and shared two half-century opening stands (of 70 and 71) with Shubman Gill in the third Test in Sydney.

He looked good in the fourth and final Test in Brisbane as well scoring 44 in the first innings.

In the ongoing series in England, he put on a 97-run stand in the first innings of the first Test before raising a century stand on Thursday.

India’s opening combination always struggled outside Asia over the last decade. Between January 2011 and December 2020, India’s opening pairs couldn’t survive the first 20 overs even once outside Asia.

But since the start of 2021, the Indian openers have seen off the first 20 overs five times in nine innings.

In fact, the average number of overs played by Indian openers overseas in 2021 is 19-plus which is way more than in 2018, 2019 and 2020 when they couldn’t even see off the first 10 overs in overseas Tests on average.