The first time this happened for Sharma was in late 2013 and early 2014 when he had made his Test debut after playing limited-overs cricket for six years.
Sharma played two Tests against West Indies in India, then flew to South Africa for two Tests and then went to New Zealand for two Test matches in 2013-14. After that, however, the batsman had been in and out of the Test side due to inconsistent performances.
Sharma’s first two Tests in 2013 produced centuries and set him on track to achieving greater heights, i.e. one who was ready to replace one of the Indian batting greats — Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly — who had dominated the previous two decades.
However, things didn’t go the right way for Sharma and his next Test century came four years and 19 Test matches later in 2017 as he was in and out of the Test side.
Even that 2017 ton didn’t help Sharma cement his place in the Test side until the 2019 home Tests against South Africa saw him racking up big scores in a new role. He made 176 and 127 in Visakhapatnam and 212 in Ranchi against South Africa in three Tests.
Immediately after that, Sharma played a couple of Tests against Bangladesh and was almost looking like he would get to play six Test matches in a row when injury ruled him out of the New Zealand tour.
Sharma also couldn’t play the first two Tests in Australia in December but returned for the last two Tests and has now played in all four matches against England at home. The series has re-established him as India’s top batsman as he has handled tricky surfaces very well in the second and third Tests and helped India win.
As of now, Sharma is India’s leading run-scorer in the ongoing series with 304 runs and he could overtake Joe Root (338) on Friday as the leading scorer in the series for both teams.
“Rohit got runs because his shot selection was good. He played sweep shots, he played cover drive, he lifted the ball, played square cuts,” former India batsman and chief selector Anshuman Gaekwad told IANS.