Adelaide: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Saturday called for the inclusion of Rohit Sharma as an opener at the earliest, after the Indian team's embarrassing defeat to Australia in the opening Test of the four-match series.
India were bowled out for their lowest ever Test score of 36 as Australia took a 1-0 lead with an eight-wicket win in the pink ball Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal looked clueless against the Australian attack in both the innings.
"He (Rohit) will definitely play. He is a better Test player than Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw. If he is fit then he will straightaway slot at the top of the order," Ponting told Channel 7.
Rohit had travelled to Australia having got the clearance from the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru after missing the entire limited overs leg of the tour and the first Day/Night Test.
Provided he is declared fit by the team's medical staff, Rohit could be back for the third and fourth Test.
Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar is also certain that Rohit is gearing up to play in the last two Tests.
"Yes, yes, he is definitely going to play in this Test series. He is already in Australia as far as I know and he might not be playing the second Test but he will be there for the third and the fourth," Gavaskar told Channel 7 when asked about the dashing opener.
The trio of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc produced a sensational performance as the visitors collapsed to their lowest Test score of 36. India's earlier lowest score was 42 against England at the Lord's in 1974 and Gavaskar was a part of that team.
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Paine's dropped catches played a key role in the partnership of Hanuma Vihari (23 not out off 161) and Ravichandran Ashwin (39 not out off 128), who batted for more than 42 overs for a 62-run stand to save the Test.
Rahane, Shastri, star batsman Rohit Sharma, pacer Shardul Thakur, and opener Prithvi Shaw landed in Mumbai, while Brisbane Test hero Rishabh Pant arrived in Delhi early this morning.
Natarajan, who came in as a net bowler, joined fellow rookies Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur to restrict Australia to 369, which according to Rohit is no mean feat.