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Can Rohit Sharma replicate his Vizag brilliance in Pune?

Rohit Sharma knocked it out of the park in his first stint as Test opener for India and has given enough reasons to believe he will continue his form in the second match as well.

The first of three Test matches between India and South Africa saw Rohit Sharma shine in his new role as Test opener. His scores of 176 and 127 runs eased India into a dominating victory in Vizag that many predict will be repeated at Pune.

We take a look into what makes ‘The Hitman’ so good in his new role and whether we can expect more of the same in the second Test, at Pune’s MCA Stadium.

Big shot

While it’s fair to say Sharma’s demeanour, both on and off the pitch, is the complete opposite of Virat Kohli’s fiery temperament, there’s no shortage of fire when it comes to racking up big scores on a consistent basis.

He regularly lives up to his well-earned nickname of ‘The Hitman’ for not letting up at any point and continuing to whack balls out of the park. As a result, has racked up huge hundreds in white ball cricket, and it was the case at Vizag too.

Bagfuls of experience

There’s nothing Rohit Sharma has not experienced in cricket. For 12 years and counting, he’s been dipping his toes in international cricket, and is now a grizzled veteran who is hard to stump on most occasions.

This was evident in the way he opened the innings, with patience and perseverance marking his every move. All the while, he was also easing in youngster and fellow opener Mayank Agarwal.

Pitch mystery

Sharma’s in his element on spin-friendly Indian pitches, and he demonstrated that to a fine degree in Vizag. Reading the spinners like a book, the 32-year-old played his shots perfectly. However, the pitch at the MCA Stadium in Pune might favour swing more so than spin, especially if the expected rains arrive at some point.

The alleged tiff between him and captain Kohli seems to have smoothed over as well. On the eve of the second Test, Kohli said about Sharma, “If a guy like him at the top of the order plays the way he does, we are going to be in situations to go for victory in most of the Test matches. So we are all very happy for him. It’s time to let Rohit Sharma enjoy his batting in red-ball cricket.”

Aye, aye skipper! We couldn’t agree more.

India’s probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

Can Rohit Sharma replicate his Vizag form in Pune?

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