Rohit Sharma, who has been a pillar of the ODI and T20I batting lineups in recent years, will open for the first time in the next three-game series of tests against South Africa. However, Sharma’s preparation for the series had a bad start as it lasted both balls and scored a duck in a three-day match between the XI of the president of the Board and South Africa in Vizianagaram on Saturday.
The trial race of Rohit Sharma as the first game lasted only two deliveries when he left without disturbing the scorers in a three-day warm-up match between the XI of the president of the Board and South Africa on Saturday. The aspiring Priyank Panchal (60, 77 balls) and the fast hitter Kona Bharat 71 of 57 balls were the highlight of the 265 of the Chairman of the Board XI for 8 in 64 overs. Mumbai hitter Siddhesh Lad (52) was also helped half a century after South Africa declared his first innings with 279 for 6. Temba Bavuma (87) remained undefeated, while Vernon Philander (48 of 49 balls) added fast runs to the total.
All eyes were on Rohit on the last day of the game when he went to open with Mayank Agarwal (39). Seamer Philander got his delivery moving a little and Rohit beat one to replace goalkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, who kept wickets instead of Quinton de Kock.
It was an ideal situation to get a quality batting time before the first Test, but Rohit softened his lines at the start. With selectors who promise him the complete series and a fair career, the vice captain of limited oversteps of India will want to present a better account of himself during the first Test in Visakhapatnam, which begins on October 2.
Easwaran was fired by Rabada, caught by Aiden Markram and then Panchal de Gujarat joined forces with Agarwal. The duo added 52 runs for the third wicket before Agarwal came out trying to hit the left-hand spinner Keshav Maharaj (3/35 in 13.1 overs), the load. His 92-ball hit had six limits.
While Kagiso Rabada is his strike player, Philander, with his ability to balance the new ball both ways, could be a major threat to Rohit, who is not exactly a great player in the movement of the feet during the initial part of the tickets.
The first four batters in the order (now that includes Rohit) were all first and Agarwal and Panchal had a better day in office compared to Rohit and Abhimanyu Easwaran (13).
Arriving at number 4 in the eleventh, Panchal looked solid when he hit 10 four and six, adding another 49 runs with Karun Nair (19). It was Philander (2/27 in 9 overs), who fired him in his second spell, caught by Captain Faf du Plessis.
The boy was more conservative in his game of punches although he hit seven four and six. Bharat finally gaped at Maharaj while searching for a century of rapid fire.
Nair also left Klaasen from Maharaj when the XI of the Chairman of the Board was reduced to 136 by 5. Once Rabada and Philander, who are going to start in Visakhapatnam, felt and played no more, the players of Proteas of second rope. They were easy meat for the other hitters.
Bharat and Lad added 100 runs in just 20 overs for the sixth wicket. Andhra’s goalkeeper, who is in the mix for the red ball version, hit seven four and five six. He was especially severe with Dane Piedt outside the roulette wheel (1/80 in 14 overs), carrying him repeatedly for maximums.
Brief scores: South Africa 279/6 decline (Aiden Markram 100 retired, Temba Bavuma 87 no, Vernon Philander 48, Dharmendra Jadeja 3/66).
XI 265/8 of the Chairman of the Board (Rohit Sharma 0, KS Bharat 71 with 57 balls, Priyank Panchal 60 with 77 balls, Siddesh Lad 52 without 89 balls, Vernon Philander 2/27, Keshav Maharaj 3/35).
The first India-South Africa test match will begin on October 2 in Visakhapatnam. The second game will be in Pune (as of October 10) and the third game will be in Ranchi (October 19).