Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Owed India Bigger Scores Than Mere Fifties, Feels Sanjay Manjrekar 1

Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar believes that the contributions from Pujara and Rahane in the second innings in Johannesburg Test should be relooked closely as he said the fifties from the duo weren’t enough as they owed bigger scores for the backing they got. So the scores like the 80s or 90s would have made the difference.

He gave an example of Dean Elgar who held the fort against Indian bowling and scored an unbeaten 96 to take his team home in the second Test match. South Africa leveled the series by 1-1 with one Test to go.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

“Batting became a little easier because of the rain”- Sanjay Manjrekar

Analyzing the match with ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Pujara and Rahane still hadn’t done enough to put faith back in them. Pujara and Rahane put on a 111-run stand on the third day of the second test as Pujara scored 53 while Rahane played a fluent knock of 78-ball 58 runs but Manjrekar opined that India expected more from them.

“You have to look at the innings of Pujara and Rahane slightly differently because these are guys who owed runs and they got the fifties which is great, back in form, good enough to keep places in the side. But guys with that kind of experience, just like Dean Elgar, could they not have gone on to get a bigger score? An 80 or a 90 or a 100 because that’s what they owed the Indian team and then the target would have been beyond the reach of the South Africans.” Manjrekar spoke to ESPNcricinfo.

However, he admitted that South African batters got slightly easier conditions to bat as the cracks were softened due to moisture as South Africa chased down the target in 67.4 overs.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

“That’s one way to look at it but yes the pitch played a little better in the sense that because of the rain, every time the ball didn’t kick, it was coming onto the bat nicely and going off the bat nicely as well. So batting became a little easier because of the rain.” he further added.

Manjrekar lauded the efforts of South Africa’s inexperienced line-up as he felt that India was favourites to win with the target of 240. He also pointed out that South Africa’s batting resources ain’t that great as Dean Elgar is their most accomplished batter but his batting average is a mere 40.

“Considering the batting lineup of South Africa batting last in this Test match, you would have thought that India should have won in the last innings because of the quality and experience they have in their bowling attack. But I think the first reaction has to be a well done to South Africa, well done to South African batters,” he said.

“Because these are the guys, when you look at their batting record, last time I looked Dean Elgar was with the highest batting average of 39, some are averaging 30, some are finding their feet at the Test level. And for them to chase down this kind of a target… I just hope it gives them the optimism to stand behind the young talent they are looking to back and let’s just hope we see the rise of South African batting after this kind of performance.” he added further.

The third and final test will begin on January 11 in Cape Town.

Also read Team Management Backed Pujara And Rahane For Their Experience And They Repaid The Faith, Feels Sunil Gavaskar