Rohit Sharma India New Zealand
India batsman Rohit Sharma admires his shot through the offside during his 82 in the second Test match against New Zealand, October 2, 2016Reuters

Rohit Sharma, whenever he comes out to bat in white clothing, is under pressure – to perform, to score runs, to play a match-winning knock, to not get out playing daft shots. More often than not in Test match cricket, Rohit has swayed on the this-is-just-what-his-critics-were-waiting-for side, but after playing a valuable knock in the second Test against New Zealand, the Mumbaikar will hope his fortunes in the most important format of the game are finally changing for the better.

Having been backed by his captain Virat Kohli to perform in five-day cricket, Rohit, after three just-not-good-enough innings, scored a brilliantly-compiled 82 to give the India bowlers enough of a target to defend in the fourth innings, with the hosts eventually going on to win the match in Kolkata by 178 runs.

Certain knocks help a batsman to finally come of age, to find their rhythm in a format they struggle with, to find their place in the team and feel they belong. Rohit, who averages 35.40 in Test cricket, will hope the 82 at the Eden Gardens, by far his favourite ground, is one of those innings.

"Personally, it was a great confidence booster in terms of my own batting," Rohit told BCCI's official website. "When you play an important innings like that from the team's perspective, it does boost your confidence. You feel good about it.

"We won the Test match as well, so it was an icing on the cake. Nothing pleases me more than getting a victory for the team.

"I feel it is my best knock in Test cricket so far and I am saying this only because it was in a winning cause. When you win games like those your confidence goes higher. I am feeling confident about the next Test match too."

That next match begins in Indore on Saturday, and with India already winning the series, the pressure is off just a touch. Rohit is someone who is at his best when allowed to play his own game, and just how important an innings the 82 was can be gauged by how well he performs in the third Test match against New Zealand.

"I am looking forward to the third Test,: Rohit added. "I don't want to change much in terms of preparations. I carry good momentum with me going into the final Test.

"I want to keep hitting the ball, get my hands and feet moving, which are very important. It is a Test debut for Indore and it will be an exciting one. We are looking forward to making it 3-0."

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