Batting great VVS Laxman heaped rich praise on Rohit Sharma, saying the newly-promoted India opener made the most of the opportunity that came his way in the 1st Test between India and South Africa.

India took a gamble by promoting Rohit Sharma to open the batting in Tests in a bid to solve the long-standing problem at the top of the batting order.

Rohit Sharma responded brilliantly in his first Test as opener by getting a half-century inside the first session of Day 1 of the ongoing Test in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma was troubled initially by South Africa’s new ball bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. Rohit was beaten outside the off-stump on numerous occasions in the first hour but he hung in there and negotiated the opening burst.

Rohit controlled his urge to throw his bat outside the off-stump and shouldered well throughout his knock on Wednesday.

Stressing that Rohit Sharma’s approach showcased he was mentally ready for the Test opener’s role, VVS Laxman said it was great to see Rohit use all his experience in the opening session on Day 1.

“It was less of technique, more of application. He knew he had to go through the opening spell of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander who I thought bowled really well. They didn’t give away anything to the Indian openers. The way he used his experience was great to see,” VVS Laxman told Star Sports on Wednesday.

“He left a lot of balls, played with a lot of patience. The way he used his crease against Philander was good to see.

“Once the spinners, he changed the gear. He played the trademark Rohit Sharma shots that we see in the shorter formats. The way he applied himself, I think he deserves the half-century.

“All the doubts people had as to whether Rohit Sharma would be successful in Test match cricket, especially as opener. All those doubts are erased. I just hope continues. He has got a good opportunity to score a big hundred.

“Not once he went and pushed at the ball outside the off-stump. So I think he prepared well and applied himself well. That shows that mentally he was ready, prepared for this opportunity.

“He also realises this is the last chance for him to prove himself in Test cricket.”

Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal added 91 runs for the opening stand and remained unbeaten at Lunch — India’s first fifty-plus partnership for the 1st wicket in 9 innings.

Both the batsmen were severe against South Africa spinners and did not allow them to settle into their spells at any point in the first session. Rohit hit a few big blows, including a massive six against off-spinner Dane Piedt.