As predicted, it was a perfect day for batting. Yes, there were some anxious moments but for most of the day, batsmen had a feast despite the overhead conditions being gloomy. India’s openers laid the platform once again and the second innings specialist this series, Cheteshwar Pujara had a mammoth partnership with Rohit Sharma to hand the visitors the advantage. Though both Pujara and Rohit were dismissed off the first ball they faced off the second new ball, India are in the driver's seat with a 171-run lead and seven wickets in hand.
It was a delightful day for the openers as they set a few personal milestones and also broke a few records. Here are a few notable ones from the third day.
Most balls faced in a series for KL Rahul
Both openers have been exceptional this series and Rahul was the first Indian batsman to score 300 runs in the series. Taking time to settle before churning out runs has been the mantra of Rahul's success. The 735 balls faced by him are the most balls he has faced in a series. Previously, in the 2017 Australian tour to India, he had faced 698 balls.
Most balls faced in a series for Rohit Sharma
Just like his partner, Rohit has been exceptional as well. In fact, slightly better than Rahul, even, in terms of balls and runs. Rohit has scored 368 runs this series and is the highest run-getter for India. The new version of Rohit who takes time to settle down has faced 866 balls this series, the most for him in a series. His previous best was against South Africa at home (683), his debut series as an opener.
Third 50+ score for Rohit this series
In his first tour to England as an opener, Rohit has excelled in conditions which are not easy. To go with the 83 at Lord’s and 59 in Leeds, on Saturday the Mumbaikar added to his tally of 50+ scores with a fine 121. The three 50+ scores by him is the second joint most for an Indian opener in a series in England. Sunil Gavaskar in the 1979 tour of England had five, which is the most. Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay in 2007 and 2014 also had three 50+ scores.
Finally, a century in an away Test
The long-awaited day in Rohit’s Test career finally arrived on 4th September 2021 at The Oval. After batting for 46 innings without one, Rohit got to his first away century in his 47th innings. This is the longest an Indian top-order (1-7) batsman has had to wait for a century in away conditions. Overall, among Indians, Anil Kumble tops the list, his century at The Oval coming in his 73rd away Test innings. Rohit’s seven home centuries, among Indian batsmen, is also the most before hitting an away ton. Mohammed Azharuddin had six before he registered an away ton.
An all-format centurion
Rohit’s last two Test centuries have come against England and both have been monumental. When he scored a century in the Chennai Test, he became the second batsman to score a hundred across all formats against England. In this innings, he was once again the second batsman to smash a ton on English soil across all-formats. His opening partner Rahul, is the other batsman to achieve this feat. However, he is the only one to achieve this as an opener
A 100-run stand after a long time
After the Indian opening stand laid a platform by hoisting an 83-run partnership, it was up to Rohit and Pujara to take it forward and they were up to the task. The duo put on 153 runs before Rohit was dismissed off the first ball of the 81st over. Rohit and Pujara ended a massive drought as the last Indian second-wicket pair to post a hundred-run stand in England were Dravid and Dinesh Karthik in 2007, incidentally at the same venue. In addition, the 153-run stand between Pujara and Rohit is the joint third best for an Indian second wicket partnership in England.