Rohit Sharma traded his natural attacking instincts for a cautious approach even as India lost three important wickets, including that of skipper Virat Kohli, to reach 80 for 4 at lunch on day two of the fourth and final test against the ‘England here on Friday.
Rohit showed immense patience going undefeated on 32 balls on 106 balls, but the dismissals of Pujara (17 of 66 balls) and Kohli (0 of 8 balls) brought England back into the game over the course of the second half of the first session.
Ajinkya Rahane (27 on 45 balls) hit a flurry of limits to get the scoreboard moving, but James Anderson caught him on the second slip with a nice swinging delivery to the lunch kick in a session where the hosts scored 56 points.
The approach Rohit and Pujara took on their 40-point 24-overs stand was not bad.
They knocked out Anderson’s morning spell (11.5-8-7-2) with Ben Stokes (12-5-20-1) bending his back to the other end.
The flashy shots were cut and with all the time at their disposal they were ready to crush bowlers and send those occasional bad balls to the limit.
One of those full throws from Stokes or Jack Leach (11-1-36-1) was roughed up by Rohit, who also produced a dead defensive bat on several occasions.
It wasn’t until late in the session that he made an overhead shot, sweeping Dom Bess between the middle of the wicket and the deep square leg for a limit.
Pujara also did the hard work but would now be frustrated with Leach making him her bunny.
He pushed forward hiding his bat behind the pads to a straighter from Leach and Nitin Menon made a good decision considering the deliberate padding of a ball hitting in the middle.
Motera’s sparse crowd, anticipating a ‘Friday morning show’ from the Indian megastar captain, were left dry when Stokes produced an effort ball with extra bounce outside the off-stump lane Kohli rimmed. to Ben Foakes behind the stumps.