Board President’s XI piles up 371 for six on the opening day
HYDERABAD: Two young India hopefuls — Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — rose to the occasion to put Board President’s XI in a strong position on the opening day of the four-day tour match against the Australians at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.
While Rohit was all class, Kohli was all efficiency as the Board President’s XI finished the day at 371 for six in 89 overs.
Rohit and Kohli displayed good temperament and superb shot-selection to come up with impressive centuries even as the chairman of the national selection committee Krishnamachari Srikkanth watched the proceedings.
Rohit, the 21-year-old Mumbai batsman, delighted the crowd with a chanceless knock to confirm his growing stature in Indian cricket. His century (105, 189m, 144b, 12x4, 4x6) helped President’s XI recover from the early shocks after the three-pronged pace attack of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson had reduced the team to 59 for three on an unhelpful pitch.
Opener Wasim Jaffer fell to the leg-side trap, mistiming a hook off Clark. Aakash Chopra, who had a horrid time in the first over of the day and was lucky to survive a close shout for lbw against Brett Lee, was trapped on the shuffle by left-armer Johnson. Subramaniam Badrinath (2) failed to celebrate his call-up to the Test squad, falling lbw to fast bowler Peter Siddle. Captain Yuvraj Singh looked in wonderful touch and hit five boundaries before being surprised by the extra bounce off Johnson.
At 120 for four, the Australians were in a position to dictate terms. However, Rohit and the 19-year-old Virat Kohli (105, 191m, 146b, 14x4, 1x6) had other ideas. Rohit picked Clark for special attention. In one over, he pulled and cut Clark to the fence before lofting him for a huge six over long-on.
Rohit then turned his attention to off-spinner Jason Krejza. Krejza could not make any impact on a pitch that had nothing in it for the spinners and the stylish Rohit helped himself to three sixes off his bowling. Krejza was denied a moment of triumph when Ponting at mid-on floored a straightforward catch off Kohli, then on 77.
The second and third sessions clearly belonged to President’s XI as the slow bowlers, including left-arm spinner Michael Clarke, were totally ineffective during the 146-run stand for the fifth wicket in just 123 minutes between Rohit and Kohli.
Proving a point
Rohit, who reached his century in style with a superb off-drive off Clarke, perished soon, mistiming a pull off Johnson to be caught at square-leg.
Kohli then fell leg-before to Lee, but by then he had proved a point and set the stage for Parthiv Patel (49 batting, 71b, 7x4) to pile on the agony for the Australians.
Board President’s XI — 1st innings: A. Chopra lbw b Johnson 25, W. Jaffer c Johnson b Clark 19, S. Badrinath lbw b Siddle 2, Yuvraj c Hussey b Johnson 29, Rohit c Krejza b Johnson 105, V. Kohli lbw b Lee 105, Parthiv (batting) 49, I. Pathan (batting) 17; Extras (b-4, lb-8, nb-8): 20; Total (for six wkts. in 89 overs): 371.
Fall of wickets: 1-41, 2-49, 3-59, 4-120, 5-266, 6-328.
Australia bowling: Lee 12-3-30-1, Clark 15-3-58-1, Johnson 20-4-62-3, Siddle 11-2-41-1, Krejza 20-1-123-0, Clarke 11-0-45-0.