KL Rahul, who captained India in the second Test against South Africa, has confirmed that the management will continue to back senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane for the third Test following entertaining fifties from the pair in Johannesburg.
This would mean that skipper Virat Kohli would come back in place of Hanuma Vihari, who scored a solid 40* in the second innings.
Both Pujara and Rahane had been under massive pressure for their places in the eleven going into the second Test. However, they managed to turn their fortunes and have extended their stay in the eleven with half-centuries in the last game.
After the match, KL Rahul acknowledged the contributions from both the senior batters over the years and said that the management have kept faith in them by rewarding them a longer rope.
“They’ve been great players for us, they’ve done the job for the team over the years. They’ve obviously been under the pump a little bit but in the team we really believe Pujara and Ajinkya are our best middle-order batsmen and they prove that time and again,” Rahul said at the post-match presentation.
Vihari came in the eleven in place of the injured Kohli, played his first Test in a year, and fared well. However, now, it seems that Vihari will be dropped from the Cape Town Test.
KL Rahul added: “So we really had their backs and to go out there and put up a performance like that it really shows the mindset they are in and the fighters they are. We always knew they could do something like that. Hopefully that gives them a lot of confidence and they can do out in the next game and put in an even better performance.”
Further, when asked about what went wrong for India, Rahul felt that they were 60-70 short in their first innings total of 202.
“I think if I have to be really harsh, it’s the first innings, after winning the toss we could have put 60 or 70 more on the board and gone in [to the second innings] with 50-60 lead. That would have been really crucial for us in the second innings,” opined the opener.
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