Indian captain Rohit Sharma’s vulnerability against Kagiso Rabada continued with his dismissal in the first innings of the opening Test match in Centurion on Tuesday. He was again dismissed by the same bowler on Thursday in India’s second innings, that too for a duck. Rohit Sharma has been a prime target for Kagiso Rabada across all formats and has been troubled consistently. The South African paceman has now dismissed Sharma a total of 14 times across formats, which is the highest by any bowler.

New Zealand’s Tim Southee (12), Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews (10), Australia’s Nathan Lyon (9) and New Zealand’s Trent Boult (8) are the other bowlers who have dismissed Rohit Sharma the most number of times in international cricket.

Among 14 dismissals against Rabada, seven have come in Test cricket, making Rabada the fast bowler who has troubled Rohit Sharma the most in the longest format. Rabada has dismissed Rohit five times in ODI cricket and twice in T20Is. Australian spinner Nathan Lyon has removed Rohit Sharma nine times in 18 Test innings while Rabada has bowled in 10 Test innings against Rohit.

Batting on 5 on Tuesday, Rohit Sharma went for the pull shot against Rabada on the final ball of the fifth over only to pick out Burger at the long leg.

Rohit’s go-to shot, the pull, which is effective in limited-overs cricket and India, has been exploited by top-quality bowlers like Kagiso Rabada overseas. Rohit Sharma has been dismissed six times playing the pull shot in the last three years in England, Australia and South Africa from 48 such executions.

“It’s interesting that his go-to shot, the one shot that he plays in white ball cricket that puts the opposition on the back foot, has been Rohit Sharma’s nemesis in Test cricket. He likes to play it in the air and that is hazardous in Test cricket,” Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said while speaking to Star Sports.

Rabada went on to claim five crucial wickets for just 41 runs in his 15 overs. His incisive spell included the dismissals of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur.
The South African pacer became the seventh Proteas bowler to achieve the milestone of claiming 500 international wickets with the five-wicket haul.

KL Rahul’s fighting century helped India post a challenging 245 runs on the board in the first innings despite Rabada’s fiery spell.

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