Rohit soaks in the applause after crossing 200 in Ranchi (AP)

HIGHLIGHTS

New India opener Rohit Sharma, who hit his maiden double hundred in Tests on Sunday in Ranchi has conceded that he wanted ‘to use the opportunity (to open the innings) to full’ at the end of the 2nd day’s play. Rohit, who has already scored 527 runs in the ongoing Freedom Trophy, was pushed up the order by the Indian team management just before the series started. The result – 2 hundreds and a double in 4 innings – has Rohit and his team elated.

“Wanted to use the opportunity to full. Otherwise, a lot would have been said and written (about my Test career). You folks write a lot about me. Now you will write some good things I hope,” Rohit told reporters after Day 2 in Ranchi.

“It was a good opportunity for me to open the batting. As I said during the Vizag Test, the communication between me and my team management was happening for a long time about opening the batting. So mentally, I was ready for it. I knew it could come at anytime.”

His double century came after India were left reeling at 39/3 in the first morning as he along with Ajinkya Rahane (115) staged a remarkable turnaround with a mammoth 267-run fourth wickekt partnership, the highest versus South Africa.

But no matter how good Rohit has looked batting all series, it hasn’t been easy for him – especially at the start when the new ball has done tricks. In Ranchi for instance, while Kagiso Rabada and Co. dented India’s start removing Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in quick succession, Rohit sensed the danger early and tried to play as close to his body as possible and leaving balls wide outside off-stump.

Another classic from yet another Rohit Sharma press conference #TeamIndia #INDvSA @Paytm pic.twitter.com/XzZV9EpkxA

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The opener reiterated his mindset when he was asked by reporters how his experience so far at the top of the innings has been.

“Speaking of this particular knock, I would say it was most challenging. I have not played much. I played only 30 Tests. In terms of what was thrown at me, I would definitely say it was probably the most challenging one,” the talented Mumbaikar said.

“New ball does something. In Pune and here (Ranchi), it was tough in the morning. Rabada spell was quite challenging. But conditions overseas will be different. Not reading too much right now, waiting for the overseas challenge as an opener,” said Sharma.

Rohit Sharma became only the 5th Indian opener after Vinoo Mankad, Budhi Kunderan, Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag to score 500-plus in a Test series. Notably, Gavaskar had done so 5 times in his Test career and Sehwag was the last Indian before Rohit to achieve the feat. Sehwag had hit 544 runs against Pakistan in a 3-Test series at home in 2005.