LONDON: A determined Rohit Sharma showed exceptional temperament to score a fine hundred as India slowly took control of the fourth Test by comfortably reaching.
199 for 1 at tea against England during an engrossing first two sessions of the third day here on Saturday. India now have a lead of 100 on a good batting surface.
With Cheteshwar Pujara (48 batting off 97 balls) again showing his attacking instincts in a 116-run unbroken second wicket stand, things are certainly look bright for the visitors despite gloomy London skyline.
One of the more elegant among modern day batsmen, Rohit (103 batting off 218 balls) during the series curbed all his ego to present a solid defence but brought his ‘Hit-Man’ instincts to the fore with a straight six off Moeen Ali that hit the second tier of the Oval stands.
An ecstatic captain Virat Kohli punching his fists and serene smile that refused to leave head coach Ravi Shastri’s lips said it all.
It took eight years and 43 Test matches to get an overseas hundred and that too in England in tough conditions, there won’t be any second guess about where this knock of Rohit will rank among his eight hundreds.
There was a lot of restraint at the start when KL Rahul (46) was attacking the bowlers but in between a straight drive at the onset and the first cover drive was brought out of the closet only at the end of second hour when Anderson over-pitched one.
He did offer a couple of streaky chances that Rory Burns at slip failed to capitalise or that uppish on-drive that caught Chris Woakes stationed at md-on on the wrong foot.
But those were minor blemishes en route his hundred off 204 balls which had 12 fours and a six.
However, Pujara should not be denied his share of credit as his counter-attacking batting did help Rohit to play his shots.
The square cut that had gone extinct from his game of late was back on the day as he looked the vintage Pujara, who would rock back and play those regal shots including a late cut and a ramp shot which brought thunderous applause from the majority of spectators.
In all, he hit seven fours and the pull-shot off Moeen Ali that got India the lead was a statement for one and all.
Earlier, Rahul, for good measure, cover drove Robinson for a boundary and then hooked him for a six.
But there was some anxious moments as Robinson got one to angle in and the on-field umpire ruled him leg before only to be successfully reviewed by the batsman.
Once Rahul was out, Anderson provided Rohit with an over-pitched delivery that was dispatched through the cover region and also pulled Craig Overton for another four.
On either side of that boundary, Pujara hit an off-drive and square cut off Robinson and Overton respectively.
In the second session which went wicket-less for England, Rohit and Pujara added insult to the injury with their performances.