India and New Zealand’s WTC final finally got underway on Day 2 after the entire opening day’s proceedings was washed out due to persistent rain. Winning the toss, Kane Williamson-led Black Caps asked India to bat first.
Coming out to bat on overcast conditions, Team India openers – Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill – laid out a perfect platform for the side with a 62-run opening stand. The pair played out the Dukes ball against a disciplined Kiwi bowling attack, came down the track, prevented from playing the drives at the start, stayed firm on the back foot, dealt with the short balls, and batted with a positive approach.
While none of them made the most of their starts, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar lavished praise on Shubman Gill, who is playing his first-ever Test on English soil, and made a big claim on the Indian opener.
“He has the temperament to become a great player. The first hundred is always the toughest one because that journey from scoring a half century to reaching three figures is not that easy,” Gavaskar said while speaking on the proceedings from the commentary box.
“Batsmen tend to feel settled somewhere around 70-80 run mark and start taking the bowlers on and lose their wicket in that way. He just needs to get his first hundred and then a lot more will follow,” he added.
Gill will be on cloud nine after such huge praise coming from the legend of the game, i.e. Little Master Sunil Gavaskar. Apart from Gavaskar, even former England captain Nasser Hussain lauded both Rohit and Gill on how they tackled the short balls from the NZ seamers.
“Can’t remember India have had openers that have played the short balls better than these two. So they can’t be bullied by the short-ball and technically very sound. With the England tour coming up after this, it was an important innings by Shubman Gill,” Hussain told Star Sports.
India, on the other hand, ended Day 2 at 146-3 with captain Virat Kohli unbeaten on 44 along with his deputy Ajinkya Rahane batting on 29.