Keshav Maharaj prepares to send one down AFP
Keshav Maharaj prepares to send one down AFP

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Sanjay Manjrekar has come down harshly on South Africa for their decision-making on Day 2 of the second Test against India. He criticized the Proteas for giving left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj the last over of Day 2 in lieu of a seamer, with the pitch aiding the fast bowlers. The 56-year-old questioned the hosts’ tactics and said they did a ‘formality’ by throwing the ball to a spinner.

The erratic nature of the pitch has helped the pacers so far, who took all 11 wickets on Day 2. First, South Africa was all out for 229, courtesy of Shardul Thakur’s exceptional bowling performance (7/61). Then, with a trail of 27 runs, India started their second innings in the third session. The hosts bowled 20 overs by Stumps, dismissing two in-form batters in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in the process.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar: It Was Ridiculous To See Keshav Maharaj Bowling The Last Over Of Day 2

Due to the uneven bounce of the Wanderers’ pitch, batting wasn’t a facile task. South African bowlers troubled the Indian batters. However, to finish the day instantaneously, skipper Dean Elgar handed the ball to Keshav Maharaj to bowl the last over. Former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar criticized South Africa’s ‘ridiculous’ tactics. He divulged that both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane would’ve been delighted to see a spinner bowling the last over.

While reviewing Day 2, Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Today, just watching that last session, it was just ridiculous. And It was topped up with Keshav Maharaj bowling the last over. Just as a formality. It’s like that old-fashioned thing that we do with one over to go. Let’s bowl a left-arm spinner.”

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

He added: “How does that make any sense on a pitch that has so much for seamers? Why not one more over from Lungi Ngidi? Just imagine how delighted Pujara and Rahane would’ve been to see Maharaj bowling the last over.”

Incidentally, Cheteshwar Pujara scored a couple of boundaries in Keshav Maharaj’s over to extend India’s lead to 58 runs. Shardul Thakur’s seven-wicket haul however couldn’t stop South Africa from taking a 27-run first-innings lead but India started their second innings positively and was 85 for 2 – ahead by 58 – at stumps on day two of the second Test in Johannesburg.

Sanjay Manjrekar Was Frustrated To See Kagiso Rabada Bowling Driving Balls

The former cricketer-turned-expert also lambasted South African pacer Kagiso Rabada for his mediocre showing against India. Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out that the 26-year-old gave too many driving balls, which were ‘ridiculous’ to say the least. Kagiso Rabada picked 3/64 in the 1st innings, the same figures Duanne Olivier registered. But in the 2nd innings, he has conceded 26 runs and is wicketless after bowling 6 overs.

While giving away that he was left ‘baffled’ with South Africa’s method of tossing the ball up to the Indian batters, Sanjay Manjrekar opined: “What has happened to Rabada? It’s so frustrating watching him as well. That suddenly he wants to be the Jimmy Anderson kind of a bowler. The amount of driving balls that he has given to the Indian batters in both innings, it’s been ridiculous to say the least.”

“Although Dean Elgar didn’t give Rabada and (Duanne) Olivier too much overs with the new ball, the amount of driving balls given in the Test match by South Africa when the pitch is your greatest ally. It just baffles me.”

Kagiso Rabada (file photo)
Kagiso Rabada (file photo)

He added: “When I was there in 90’s, driving balls, you’d get rarely. Two or three per session. But here you are getting three or four per over. And every ball has been driven for four. Such ridiculous tactics from South Africa.”

The duo of out-of-form middle-order batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara (35*) and Ajinkya Rahane (11*) did pretty well to remain unbeaten by Stumps on Day 2, despite being under tremendous pressure prior to the innings. India ended Day 2 of the Wanderers Test at 85 for two wickets, asserting a lead of 58 runs. With the game perfectly poised in balance, Day 3 becomes extremely crucial and could decide the fortunes of the whole series.

India 202 and 85 for 2 (Pujara 35*, Rahane 11*, Jansen 1-18) lead South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs