Rohit Sharma's Test debut could have been even more memorable but for just 23 runs. After becoming the 14th Indian batsman to score a century on Test debut, Sharma could have become the first Indian to score a double century as a debutant but missed the landmark by just 23 runs. On Day 3 of the Eden Gardens Test against the West Indies on Friday, Sharma was out LBW to left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul for 177.
Sharma would have joined a very small club of cricketers -- England's Tip Foster (287 in 1903), West Indies' Lawrence Rowe (214 in 1972), Sri Lanka's Brendon Kuruppu (201 not out in 1987), New Zealand's Matthew Sinclair (214 in 1999) and South Africa's Jacques Rudoplh (222 not out in 2003) - to have smashed double centuries on Test debut.
Sharma, who got his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday, is the first Indian to appear in a Test match after playing 100 ODIs. Former Test opener Sunil Gavaskar feels this has been possible because of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who must have believed in Sharma's potential in the longer-format of the game. "Dhoni must be credited for keeping his faith in Rohit who is a special kid," Gavaskar said of the 26-year-old Sharma.
Having matured as a cricketer ever since he took over as the skipper of Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League this year, Sharma has been involved in a flurry of records. His 177 off 301 balls established a record for the highest individual innings by a No. 6 batsman on Test debut, outstripping Australia's Doug Walters' 155 off 315 balls versus England at Brisbane in December 1965.
Sharma's knock is the second highest by an Indian batsman on Test debut, next only to the 187 by Shikhar Dhawan against Australia at Mohali in March this year. But the decisive of them all has been the 280-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin (124) that helped India grab a match-winning 219-run first innings lead. Sharma and Ashwin erased the previous record of 259 (unbroken) between VVS Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni versus South Africa at Kolkata in February 2010.