Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Mohammad Shami were the scriptwriters of India\'s victory in the Kolkata Test.
Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Mohammad Shami were the scriptwriters of India's victory in the Kolkata Test, while the hero Sachin Tendulkar stole most of the limelight. It was like Salim-Javed writing the successful script for Sholay and Jai-Veeru getting the most attention.
Rohit the batsman, Ashwin the allrounder and Shami the bowler decimated West Indies under three days at the Eden Gardens, where camera lens repeatedly moved towards Tendulkar entering the field, Tendulkar fielding, Tendulkar bowling, Tendulkar batting, Tendulkar signing autographs, and every thing else that was Tendulkar.
But amid those festivities, two Indian debutants - Rohit and Shami - didn't let their focus drift and not only performed but were the architects, along with Ashwin, of India's innings-and-51-run victory.
It took Rohit 108 ODIs and more than 3000 runs to wear the Test whites - the longest any player has taken to graduate to Test cricket. But things are changing. This is year 2013 and this definitely is a different Rohit: an ODI double centurion and now only the 14th Indian to hit a Test century on debut.
Rohit could have made his Test debut three years and nine months ago but he was destined to do it in a momentous Test series - the last one for Sachin Tendulkar. Ironically, it might be Tendulkar's No. 4 position that Rohit will take after the greatest Indian batsman pulls the curtains down in Mumbai.
On day two, when most made their way to the Eden Gardens to watch Tendulkar bat, it was Rohit who stole the limelight, especially after Tendulkar scored just 10 and was on the wrong end of an LBW shout. But he didn't stop after trending on Twitter. Instead, Rohit batted responsibly to make sure that he was there till stumps to give India control.
It was a fantastic 280-run stand for the seventh-wicket between Man-of-the-Match Rohit (177) and Ashwin (124) that turned the match on its head for India from a precarious 172 for 6 in the first innings.
Missed chance to make his Test debut in 2010 and the World Cup snub in 2011 made Rohit more resolute, and the remaining was done by Mumbai Indians' captaincy that made him responsible.
A batsman who promised more but delivered less has started to deliver what he promises, ever since he started to open with Shikhar Dhawan in coloured clothing. Incidentally, both have scored a century on Test debut, and this year itself, in which they also have as many as six ODI century partnerships to their name.
It's difficult to recall when, if ever, did an Indian pacer bowled with the kind of fire Shami breathed at the Eden Gardens. It not only decimated the West Indies, earned India an innings win inside three days and gifted Tendulkar a win in his 199th and last Test at the Eden Gardens, but also perched Shami on top of the list of best fast-bowling debuts by an Indian.
Shami, who rattled the Windies with 4 for 71 in the first innings, made the old ball talk on the third afternoon as well with a five-for (5 for 47) on debut. And Shami's match haul of 9 for 118 earned him the distinction of best figures registered by an Indian pacer on debut.
Six of Shami's nine wickets in the match came as bowled, stressing on the fact that he not only is pacy to go through batsmen's defences but also bowls a nagging, testing line that makes batsmen play rather than leave the ball.
India have definitely found a 'fast' bowler. Let's allow him to bowl the way he is, and not go the Irfan Pathan way.
Rohit's career-defining 177 took India out of crisis at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, but it wouldn't have been possible without the support of Ashwin, who added 280 runs with Rohit en route his second Test century (124) that made him the No. 1 Test allrounder.
From 83 for 5 at one stage, Rohit and Ashwin's 280-run partnership took India to 453 to fetch a lead of 219. Ashwin's batsmanship once again proved he is better than a No. 8, a fact that he established with his first Test ton against the same opposition in Mumbai.
At one end where Rohit showed temperament of a Test veteran, Ashwin was uninhibited in his strokeplay. Speaking after the day's play, debutant Rohit was full of praise for Ashwin. "It was a really important partnership in terms of finishing the day where we are today. We lost early wickets, then I had a good partnership with MS (Dhoni). Then I and Ashwin just decided not to think too much about what they're doing. We just wanted to believe whatever we want to do. Every run is important on this wicket. As many runs we can get tomorrow will be good for us."
The second Test is in Mumbai, Tendulkar's 200th, and the festivities are going to go up a level than Kolkata. But India unstoppable, set for a 2-0 whitewash.