Johannesburg, January 6: Stand-in skipper KL Rahul said Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are Team India’s best middle-order batters and their knocks in the second innings of the second Test will give them the confidence to do better in the next match.
Pujara along with Ajinkya Rahane stitched a 111-run stand for the third wicket and helped India extend their lead on Wednesday. Both batters were going through a lean patch but ended up hitting crucial fifties on Day Three of the second Test against South Africa. Also Read | IND vs SA 2nd Test 2021-22 Day 4 Stat Highlights: Captain Dean Elgar Stars in South Africa’s Historic Chase.
“They have been great players for us (on Pujara and Rahane), have always done the job for us over the years, have been under the pump recently, but we believe Pujara and Rahane are our best middle-order players, to go out there, bat in that mindset and play such an innings. It’ll give them confidence and make them do even better in the next Test,” said KL Rahul after India suffered a defeat in the second Test. Also Read | IPL 2022: My11Circle Becomes Official Title Sponsor for Lucknow Team.
Dean Elgar played a captain’s knock scoring an unbeaten 96 to take the hosts to a 7-wicket win levelling the 3-match series 1-1 against India. KL Rahul said the visitors were 50-60 runs short in the first innings.
“Every Test match we play, we want to win, we go out there and compete hard, but South Africa played really well and deserved this victory. We were looking to get on the field today, try and do something special, 122 to get, the pitch was playing up and down, we had a good chance, but their batters played really well,” said Rahul.
“If I want to be harsh, the first innings total of 202 was at least 50-60 runs short, we should have scored more and put them under pressure. Shardul (Thakur) has been superb for us, has won us a lot of games, he bowled well in the first innings and gave us a chance today as well,” he added.
Indian Test captain Virat Kohli had a spasm on his upper back on Monday morning and was ruled out of the second Test. “Virat is already feeling better, he’s been doing a bit of fielding and think he’ll be fine,” said Rahul.
“With Siraj, we need to monitor him in the nets. It’s tough to come back immediately from a hamstring issue, but we do have good bench strength in the form of Umesh and Ishant,” he added.
India and South Africa will now lock horns in the third Test from January 11. “We expected this when we came here, every Test will be competitive and challenging, we’ll be hungrier after this disappointing loss. Looking forward to Cape Town and the third Test,” Rahul signed off.
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