Team India made a return to Test cricket on Friday when the side took on Sri Lanka in the first match of the two-game series in Mohali. For India, the match remains significant for a couple of reasons – it is Virat Kohli’s 100th Test, as he becomes the twelfth Indian to reach the landmark. The game at Mohali also sees the beginning of Rohit Sharma‘s tenure as India’s full-time captain in the longest format.
Rohit made a splendid start to his full-time leadership role in the limited-overs, with side registering clean-sweep series victories against New Zealand (T20Is), West Indies (ODIs and T20Is), and Sri Lanka (T20Is). The Indian opener is leading in Tests for the first time but former India opener Gautam Gambhir believes that it won’t a “big challenge” for the 34-year-old.
“I don’t think so. Because it won’t be a big challenge for Rohit Sharma in red-ball cricket. If you talk about Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, you have experienced players like Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer who can replace them. Iyer had made a bright start to Test cricket,” Gambhir said on the pre-match show on Star Sports.
“When you have Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Bumrah, then it doesn’t get (difficult). Bowlers win you matches, batters only set the match up. Virat Kohli has developed India’s bowling strength, so I don’t think it should be difficult for Rohit Sharma in red-ball cricket.”
Gambhir further said that it is easier to lead in India than overseas.
“In India, it’s comparatively easier. You win the toss and bat. Overseas, it gets difficult because the condition is challenging. Here, you know you can set the game if you bat first,” said the former India opener.
Earlier, India had won the toss and opted to bat in the first Test against Sri Lanka. Former captain Kohli was felicitated by India’s head coach Rahul Dravid ahead of the start of the game.