NEW DELHI: On a spin-aiding surface where Australia skittled out for 177, India skipper Rohit Sharma showed great temperament and character, notching up his ninth Test ton on the second day of the Nagpur Test.
In the conditions which were clearly not easy to bat on, Rohit demonstrated how to go about the business as his ton put India on top in the series opener.
Batting coach Vikram Rathour hailed the supreme effort from the skipper stressing on the fact that the Australians made Rohit work hard for his ton.
"It was a special innings by Rohit and it is a great feeling (to see him score runs). He showed good temperament and it was very important innings as the surface wasn't easy to bat on," Rathour said at the end of the second day's play.
Rohit's hundred and half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel have given India a first innings lead of 144, going into the third day.
Since Rohit started opening in Test matches, he has played some great knocks but the three hundreds that stand out include his epic 161 on a Chepauk snake pit, a ton at the Oval and Friday's knock on a low, slow turner against Australia.
"That is the quality of his batting," Rathour said.
"He has got runs on seaming tracks in England. But if we talk about this particular innings, he was made to work hard for his runs. Normally, with Rohit when he scores his first few runs, he then pushes the score. But here he had to work hard," the former Test opener said.
India scored 95 runs in the final session, courtesy a 81-run stand between Axar (52 batting) and Jadeja (66 batting) but Rathour didn't want to sound complacent about the fact that the match is as good as in India's pocket.
"I don't think so. You can't say till the last ball is bowled," he said cautiously.
When asked if Axar's batting came into consideration when he was picked ahead of Kuldeep, Rathour denied emphatically.
"He (Axar) has been exceptional with the ball so that was not even a consideration. Yes, (his) batting is a bonus," he added.
Rahul has two hundreds in last 10 Tests
Rathour went on the defensive the moment the question about KL Rahul's form cropped up.
Was he lucky to be considered in the playing XI despite his poor run of form, Rathour replied: "I won't be able to comment on that."
"But he (Rahul) has scored two hundreds in his last 10 Tests – one in England and other in South Africa and also has a couple of fifties. So we are not yet there."
For the record, the century in England came in August, 2021 and the one in South Africa in January, 2022. Rahul has had run of poor scores with one 50-plus knock in his last nine innings and rest of scores were all below 25.
(With inputs from PTI)