London: Indian opener Rohit Sharma has said that he was only thinking about playing the role he had been assigned to play in England conditions on Day 3 of the fourth Test, and that milestones didn’t really matter to him.
Sharma recorded his first overseas Test hundred with a magnificent 127 off 256 balls. He also had a 153-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 61 off 127 balls.
“Honestly speaking, I was not thinking about all the things (milestones) because that doesn’t really matter to me. Getting runs is important, yes. All those first milestones and first overseas hundred, all that will happen if it has to happen. That was never in my mind. What was in my mind was to play my role. I am opening for the first time in England. I had a very important role to play,” Sharma said on Sunday.
“I am glad I could play that role. That is the most important thing I was focusing on and making sure I get the job done. When you open the innings, it is always a nice feeling to get that challenge upfront with the new ball, facing some of the quality bowlers as well. So that was what in my mind,” said Sharma to Pujara in a video released by BCCI on Sunday.
Sharma also talked about how he felt about helping India take a lead of 171 at stumps on day three. He also mentioned about the opening stand of 83 runs with KL Rahul. “It’s a good feeling. As a team, we stand in a very good position at the moment. So, that is a good feeling. We knew we had our work cut off because we were 100 runs behind in the first innings.
“So, we knew we have to bat well to get past that and then build on a big lead. I think all the batters, including KL (Rahul) as well, to start off with. We had a good partnership. We know in England how crucial the new ball is. Once we played that out, runs can come by very quickly.”
Sharma went on to talk about Pujara’s quick start to his knock. “Very happy for you, Puji. Someone just told me you had 35 off 50 balls.” In reply, Pujara thanked him and Rahul for blunting the new ball.
“It’s a good start (chuckles). Thanks to you guys, because the ball was old, I could play my shots. It was slightly easier to bat.”
Sharma remarked that roles had been reversed. “The role has been reversed a little bit. Normally, I like to play the shots and get off to the scoreboard quickly and you take time, the roles have reversed now. But I am happy, I am happy to play as many balls as possible. That was for me the biggest challenge on this tour because runs and shots will come as long as you spend time in the middle, get a feel of the pitch, bowlers, conditions, runs will come.”
At stumps on day three, India were 270/3 and lead by 171 runs with Virat Kohli (22 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (9 not out) at the crease.