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Rohit Sharma, India
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter
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Zaheer Khan : Rohit Sharma Moulded Game As Per Conditions And India’s Needs On Day 3 Of 4th Test

Zaheer Khan, the former India pacer believes Rohit Sharma has molded his game according to India’s needs and scored a brilliant hundred on Day 3 of the ongoing Oval Test against England.

Rohit Sharma notched up his eighth Test hundred and, more significantly, his first away from home on Saturday. He scored 127 off 256 balls as India ended Day 3 of The Oval Test at 270 for 3.
Rohit Sharma moulded his game to India's needs, a brilliant hundred: Zaheer Khan (Reuters Photo)
Rohit Sharma molded his game to India’s needs, a brilliant hundred: Zaheer Khan (Reuters Photo)

Rohit Sharma Adapted His Game According To Conditions: Zaheer Khan

Former pacer Zaheer Khan has lauded Rohit Sharma for his outstanding 127-run knock against England, saying that the opener adapted and molded his game according to India’s needs to score a brilliant hundred on Day 3 of the ongoing Oval Test.

Rohit Sharma completed his 8th Test hundred, first on foreign soil and second against England to help India consolidate their position in the fourth Test. He constructed his innings perfectly, resolutely defending outside the off-stump and taking runs off anything loose.
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar

The 34-year-old opener made batting look extremely easy in overcast conditions during his stay at the crease and also completed 3000 Test runs in the process. Zaheer Khan further said that Rohit Sharma has made a conscious effort to set himself up at the crease which is allowing him to leave deliveries on and around the off-stump in seamer-friendly conditions.

“His intentions were clear. He has adapted his game according to the English conditions. While facing the new ball, he is trying to set himself up at the crease that enables him to leave the deliveries outside the off-stump and pick the balls which he can target,” Zaheer Khan told CricBuzz Chatter.

England bowlers were made to toil by the combination of Rohit Sharma(127) and Cheteshwar Pujara (61), who put on a partnership of 153 for the second wicket, making run-scoring look easy despite seamer-friendly overcast conditions. While Rohit Sharma fell to a pull shot on 127, Cheteshwar Pujara was caught in the slips for 61.

Rohit Sharma slammed a century off 205 balls with the help of 12 fours and a six that he used to bring his ton. He went on to score 127 runs off 256 deliveries. With that, he also shattered 5 records.

  1. He completed 15,000 runs in international cricket, only the 8th player from India to achieve the feat.
  2. Rohit Sharma also completed 11,000 runs as an opener across all formats.
  3. The century at Oval helped him complete 2,000 runs in England.
  4. The 127-run knock meant he has completed 1,000 runs in 2021 across all formats.
  5. Rohit Sharma also crossed the 3,000-run mark in Test cricket.

Rohit Sharma Relishes When The Ball Comes At Pace: Zaheer Khan

Bad light stopped play at The Oval with India ahead by 171 runs. India ended the day at 270/3, with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 127 and 61, respectively. Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will resume India’s innings on Day 4. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson soon after the pair brought up their 150-ruin stand.

“The Oval pitch offers bounce and Rohit Sharma relishes when the ball comes at pace. He has molded his game according to India’s needs and scored a brilliant ton,” Zaheer added.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

India was 270 for 2 with a 171-run lead before bad light forced early stumps on Day 3 of the ongoing Oval Test. Virat Kohli was batting on 22 while Ravindra Jadeja was unbeaten on 9.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan
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Michael Vaughan Feels Cheteshwar Pujara Has Traits Like Him And Inzamam-ul-Haq

Michael Vaughan, former England skipper feels Cheteshwar Pujara has traits similar to him and the former Pakistan captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq. During Day 3 of the ongoing fourth Test between India and England at the Oval on Saturday, when India was making steady progress with opener Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle of a phenomenal partnership, for a moment, the Indian fans were left worried.
While running at the non-striker’s end for a single, Cheteshwar Pujara twisted his ankle and went down in pain. Cheteshwar Pujara immediately received attention on his ankle, with the Indian physio attending him. After carefully examining it, Cheteshwar Pujara’s ankle was heavily taped up, and fortunately for India, the batsman was up and running and appeared in no discomfort whatsoever there onward.
Cheteshwar Pujara flicks one off this pads Getty Images
Cheteshwar Pujara flicks one-off this pads Getty Images

Michael Vaughan Feels Cheteshwar Pujara Is A Bit Like Him And Inzamam-ul-Haq

Examining the whole episode, Michael Vaughan feels Cheteshwar Pujara has traits similar to him and the former Pakistan captain and great batsman Inzamam-Ul-Haq.

“From knowing Pujara a bit from his time at Yorkshire, he’s a bit like me and I wouldn’t say that fielding is high up on his list of priorities. It’ll be an injury in that ankle that if there’s any prospect of him taking a bit of time off the field, he will take it. There’s a few around who used to be like that, Inzamam is one who comes to mind,” Michael Vaughan said on the BBC Test Match Special.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson soon after the pair brought up their 150-ruin stand. While Rohit Sharma fell to a pull shot on 127, Cheteshwar Pujara was caught in the slips for 61. Rohit Sharma hit a massive six-over long-on off Moeen Ali to get his first-ever Test century outside India. It also happened to be his 8th career century in the longest format.

Michael Vaughan Feels There Was A Lack Of Intent And Variety From England Bowlers

India strengthened their grip on the Oval Test, ending the day on 270/3, with a lead of 171 runs. The star of the day was Rohit Sharma, who peeled off his 8th Test century, first away from home. With Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma striking a partnership of 153 runs, Michael Vaughan felt there was a little lack of intent and variety from the England bowlers.

“It just feels that this England attack is very similar. It’s a concern when the ball’s not moving around that much as a batter you can’t get used to it. Everything’s almost the same pace. There isn’t a go-to bowler to rough Pujara up,” Vaughan added.

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
“I’m just staggered. There’s so much experience in this England team, how they haven’t noticed the need to bowl shorter deliveries before now to both batsmen. I don’t think I’ve seen Ollie Robinson bowl a single bouncer in this match yet, he’s had Rohit out twice in this series with the short ball.”
India concluded a brilliant Day 3 at 270-3 (lead of 171 runs) with Virat Kohli looking solid at 22 off 37 alongside Ravindra Jadeja and with three more capable batsmen yet to come. India will look to bat out the first hour against the new ball and then unleash an all-out attack until the tea break with Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant capable of scoring briskly.
Cheteshwar Pujara wasn’t in form after failures against New Zealand (WTC Final, average 11.5) and at home against England (average 22.17). But this series, he is batting more positively as evident from his 91 at Headingley (Strike Rate 48.15) and 61 at Oval (Strike Rate 48.03). He has managed 227 runs so far averaging 32.43.
Rohit Sharma scored his maiden overseas Test hundred on Day 3 at The Oval. Pic: Getty Images
Rohit Sharma scored his maiden overseas Test hundred on Day 3 at The Oval. Pic: Getty Images
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Inzamam-ul-Haq: This 127 Was Rohit Sharma’s Best Test Innings Of His Career

Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain has termed Indian opener Rohit Sharma’s hundred on Day 3 of the Oval Test the best innings of the opener’s Test career. Inzamam-ul-Haq added that Rohit Sharma deserved the ton as he has batted with patience and has displayed excellent temperament right through the series.

Rohit Sharma notched up his eighth Test hundred and, more significantly, his first away from home on Saturday. He scored 127 off 256 balls as India ended Day 3 of The Oval Test at 270 for 3.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Hailed Rohit Sharma Who Deserved His Ton

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam-ul-Haq hailed Rohit Sharma for his stupendous knock.

“Rohit Sharma played a brilliant knock, he deserved this hundred. He has displayed amazing temperament throughout the series. The day belonged to Rohit Sharma. Everyone is aware that he is one of the best stroke players in the business. However, he saw off the new ball with patience and, once he got set, he started playing his shots.”

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

According to the former Pakistani batsman, Rohit Sharma adapted to the challenges brilliantly and proved that he is a team man.

Inzamam-ul-Haq added: “The six he hit to get to a hundred demonstrated the amount of confidence he has in his ability. The stroke also demonstrated that he could have hit out earlier if he wanted but he played as per the requirements of the team. Rohit Sharma adapted himself brilliantly to score his 8th Test hundred. According to me, this was the best innings of Rohit Sharma’s Test career.”

Rohit Sharma was dismissed in a disappointing fashion as he miscued an attempted pull straight up in the air after England took the new ball.

Bad light stopped play at The Oval with India ahead by 171 runs. India ended the day at 270/3, with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 127 and 61, respectively. Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will resume India’s innings on Day 4. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson soon after the pair brought up their 150-ruin stand.

While Rohit Sharma fell to a pull shot on 127, Cheteshwar Pujara was caught in the slips for 61. Rohit Sharma hit a massive six-over long-on off Moeen Ali to get his first-ever Test century outside India. It also happened to be his 8th career century in the longest format.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: KL Rahul’s 46 Cannot Be Ignored As He Along With Rohit Sharma Built A Solid Foundation For The 1st Wicket

Day 3 began with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul carrying on their good work from Friday after resuming from their overnight score of 43/0. They added 83 for the first wicket to set a solid foundation.

Inzamam said in this regard: “KL Rahul’s 46 also cannot be ignored. Rohit Sharma and Rahul featured in a wonderful opening stand. The partnership set the base for India as they nullified threat of the new ball, which has hurt India many times in the past. I have said earlier as well, when the openers came into bat on Day 2, they displayed the mindset to attack the England bowlers. They were keen on playing positive cricket and not going into their shell.”

India ended Day 3 with a lead of 171 with seven wickets in hand. While Virat Kohli was unbeaten on 22, Ravindra Jadeja was batting on 9. India concluded a brilliant Day 3 at 270-3 (lead of 171 runs) with Virat Kohli looking solid at 22 off 37 alongside Ravindra Jadeja and with three more capable batsmen yet to come.

Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)
Danish Kaneria (Getty Images)
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Danish Kaneria Don’t Understand Why India Is Saving Out Of Form Ajinkya Rahane Who Should’ve Been Replaced

Danish Kaneria, the former Pakistan leg-spinner was baffled by India’s decision to demote Ajinkya Rahane to No.6. The Indian Test vice-captain hasn’t been in the best of form and has struggled to score consistently.

Danish Kaneria feels the Indian team management is trying to shield Ajinkya Rahane by sending Ravindra Jadeja to bat at No.5. He reckons someone like Suryakumar Yadav or Hanuma Vihari should have got the chance ahead of the out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Danish Kaneria Don’t Understand Why India Is Saving Ajinkya Rahane

In a video on his YouTube channel, Danish Kaneria explained how the move to demote Ajinkya Rahane sends out the wrong message to the opposition. The Indian middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane has managed only one half-century in the series against England.

“I don’t understand why they are saving Ajinkya Rahane. If he isn’t able to perform in this innings then let the gates open for Suryakumar Yadav or Hanuma Vihari. Rahane is not in form and he doesn’t know where his off-stump is. If you know a player isn’t in form then you should have replaced him. A message goes to the opposition that you are saving the batsman,” Danish Kaneria stated.

Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)
Danish Kaneria (Image credit: Twitter)

Suryakumar Yadav and Hanuma Vihari are waiting in the wings and should get a chance according to Danish Kaneria. Although he is yet to play Tests, Suryakumar Yadav has a compelling record in first-class cricket, scoring 5326 runs in 77 first-class games at 44.01, with 14 tons.

Hanuma Vihari’s last innings for India was a heroic 161-ball 23 which helped India draw the Test match against Australia in Sydney. He made his Test debut for India in September 2018 and has featured in 12 Tests, 93 first-class games, 80 List A, and 74 T20 games.

Danish Kaneria Enjoyed The Way Rohit Sharma Batted

Rohit Sharma was the star man for India on Day 3 as he scored his maiden overseas Test hundred. Danish Kaneria was impressed with the application that the Indian opener showed in conditions that weren’t easy to bat on. Danish Kaneria believes India’s opening stand of 83 was crucial in them getting a good lead so far. He reckons India can post a huge target if they bat well on Day 4.

“I really enjoyed the way Rohit Sharma batted, the way he fought out in the first session. The elegance, class, focus and determination were there and India really needed such partnership from their openers. This is how you score in England and it was fantastic to see him bat,” Danish Kaneria concluded.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

The first session will be crucial on Day 4 as India looks to push on and add to their lead, while England will look to trigger a batting collapse. Bad light stopped play at The Oval with India ahead by 171 runs. India ended the day at 270/3, with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 127 and 61, respectively.

Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will resume India’s innings on Day 4. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson soon after the pair brought up their 150-run stand.

While Rohit Sharma fell to a pull shot on 127, Cheteshwar Pujara was caught in the slips for 61. Rohit Sharma hit a massive six-over long-on off Moeen Ali to get his first-ever Test century outside India. It also happened to be his 8th career century in the longest format. India concluded a brilliant Day 3 at 270-3 (lead of 171 runs) with Virat Kohli looking solid at 22 off 37 alongside Ravindra Jadeja and with three more capable batsmen yet to come.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Michael Vaughan: Virat Kohli May Have The Last Laugh

Michael Vaughan believes Team India’s two debatable moves – keeping Ravichandran Ashwin out for the fourth Test and promoting Ravindra Jadeja to no.5 are coming well at The Oval.

The former England skipper remarked that Virat Kohli, who took the brunt of the criticism for the ploys, will now be looking forward to having the last laugh if India wins the match despite conceding a 99 run 1st innings lead.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Michael Vaughan: Virat Kohli May Have The Last Laugh As Ploy To Not Play Ravichandran Ashwin And Promoting Ravindra Jadeja At No. 5 Worked

Batting ahead of Ajinkya Rahane for only the second time in his career, Ravindra Jadeja contributed an uneasy 10 runs in India’s first innings. He looked more comfortable in the second dig on the eased-out pitch and is currently not out at 9 (33). India hasn’t missed Ravichandran Ashwin’s off-spinners much either as Ravindra Jadeja contributed two wickets in England’s first innings of the match.

Michael Vaughan told Cricbuzz: “It’s well documented that many feel that Ashwin should have played. They haven’t gone with Ashwin but you know what, this Indian side, they are well on top of this Test match, they have made a couple of tweaky changes in the batting lineup, with Jadeja batting at No. 5. “

“Jadeja also got the 2 wickets and Virat will be thinking: ‘I might have the last laugh here. I may, on Monday night, be able to say to all that I was right’. But I’ll tell him if you play Ashwin and win it, you’ll probably win sooner because he’s that good.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Speaking specifically on Ravindra Jadeja’s promotion, former England skipper Michael Vaughan said it was a clever move to change things up in the batting order which should continue ahead as well. He said Ajinkya Rahane shouldn’t be concerned about it either because the team is only looking to maximize its potential.

Vaughan added: “In the first innings, I thought it was quite a smart move to throw something different at England tactically. It didn’t come off but it was quite clever. Whether it’s long term, we’ll have to wait and see but all I’ll say to Ravindra Jadeja is – Go and get runs! Get those runs tomorrow and make sure in the next Test you are in at No. 5. I won’t be to concerned about Ajinkya Rahane, this Indian team are maximizing what they got in these conditions.”

Bad light stopped play at The Oval with India ahead by 171 runs. India ended the day at 270/3, with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 127 and 61, respectively. Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will resume India’s innings on Day 4. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson soon after the pair brought up their 150-ruin stand.

While Rohit Sharma fell to a pull shot on 127, Cheteshwar Pujara was caught in the slips for 61. Rohit Sharma hit a massive six-over long-on off Moeen Ali to get his first-ever Test century outside India. It also happened to be his 8th career century in the longest format.

India concluded a brilliant Day 3 at 270-3 (lead of 171 runs) with Virat Kohli looking solid at 22 off 37 alongside Ravindra Jadeja and with three more capable batsmen yet to come. So far Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara are the highest scorers with their classy knocks of 127 and 61 respectively.

Michael Vaughan also spoke about the target that India would like to set on Day 4. The former England captain said 250 would be good enough for the hosts, while 50 more than that would all but push them out of the game because of the pitch’s condition in the final two days.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Michael Vaughan added: “Over 250 is not going to be easy for England, over 300 will be too many. India are right in the box seat… India have now got a great chance to really have a grab at this series. They should be able to get at least 130 runs, over 300 runs and I think it’ll take a bit more spin on Day 5, the odd ball might just keep a bit low because the pitch will start to deteriorate.”

India will look to bat out the first hour against the new ball and then unleash an all-out attack until the tea break with Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant capable of scoring briskly.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan
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Michael Vaughan Reckons India May Suffer Yet Another Batting Collapse In The 4th Test

Michael Vaughan opined that the England pacers have been all over the Indian batting unit throughout this series. He reckons that a batting collapse will be just around the corner if the seamers are patient enough.

The Indian batters haven’t been consistent in the series so far. They have been able to build partnerships in isolation, but that has almost always been followed by a flurry of wickets in the four Tests so far.

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Michael Vaughan: England’s 4 Man Seam Attack Has Been All Over Indian Batting Line-up As The Famed Batting Line-up Collapsed In The 3rd Test

Michael Vaughan reminded how the middle-order collapsed in the third Test at Headingley after Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli had built a solid partnership.

“This four-man seam attack that England have, they have been all over this Indian batting line-up. We saw it in the second innings at Headingley. The Indians made it tough, they hung in there, then there was a collapse. I do think that if England stay patient, I do think there will be a cluster of wickets somewhere,” Michael Vaughan said on BBC’s Test Match Special podcast.

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul | Photo: ICC

After conceding a lead of 99 runs in the first innings, the Indian openers gave a solid start in the wee hours of play on Day 2. The pair put up 43 runs on the board without being separated. At stumps, India’s second innings score read 43/0 — trailing by 56 runs with all wickets in the bag. Rohit Sharma (20*) and KL Rahul (22*) were steady for visitors as they mixed caution with aggression to make sure India doesn’t lose any wickets on the second day.

Michael Vaughan Warns Indian Batters Against Poking In The Channel-“The first hour is the key” –

Michael Vaughan predicts there will be movement on offer for the seamers early on Day 3. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have shown the ability to survive in such conditions, but the first hour of play will be crucial for India.

“The first hour is the key. It will swing more in the first hour. In terms of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, they have got the gift to be able to see off those balls that are bowled into that channel,” Michael Vaughan added.

The former England batter lauded the England pacers for attacking the channel consistently. He signed off by warning the Indian openers against poking at deliveries in the channel early on.

“We have seen continuously throughout this series how the England seamers are good enough to be able to control that channel. If they go chasing that channel too early when the ball is moving around, they will probably snick to the cordon,” Michael Vaughan signed off.

Umesh Yadav. (AP Photo)
Umesh Yadav. (AP Photo)

The pitch will have a bit of moisture seeping in overnight. The morning session will be the most difficult to bat on and it is expected to get easier as the day progresses.

Earlier, England was bundled out for 290 runs after Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes shined with the willow and smashed their respective half-centuries to help hosts take a vital 99-run lead. Ollie Pope made 81 runs while Chris Woakes contributed 50 runs to guide England’s comeback after a shaky start. Moeen Ali (35) and Jonny Bairstow (37) also added important runs along with Pope lower down the order.

For the visitors, pacer Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets for 76 runs, while spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed two wickets for 36 runs to keep India in the game. Frontline pacer Jasprit Bumrah also bagged a couple of scalps for 67 runs. Shardul Thakur (1/54) and Mohammed Siraj (1/42) took one wicket apiece.

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Virender Sehwag: Ravindra Jadeja Was Promoted Since Right Hand And Left Hand Combination Often Trouble Bowlers

Virender Sehwag analyzed the possible reason behind the changes in India’s batting order. In doing so, he even recalled India’s tour of Australia in 2004 and cited the example of Sachin Tendulkar who wasn’t among runs and his batting position was changed in one of the games in the series.

India got off to a wobbly start against England on the first day of the third day’s opening day at The Oval. After being put to bat, the visitors lost their top three batters with just 39 runs on the board. After Cheteshwar Pujara nicked a James Anderson delivery to keeper Jonny Bairstow, the fans would have expected vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to walk in next.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

Virender Sehwag: Ravindra Jadeja Was Promoted Since Right Hand And Left Hand Combination Often Trouble Opposition’s Bowlers

However, to everyone’s surprise, India opted to make a massive change in the batting order by promoting Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5. The left-hand all-rounder gave company to his captain and looked confident. India didn’t lose any more wickets in the morning session and reached 54 for 3 at lunch.

“Maybe it was a step taken to force the England bowlers to alter their line and length against a left-hander. And if the reason is something else then it’s not a good sign for India. It could be just one of the matches when Jadeja was promoted up and sent in to bat ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, ” said Virender Sehwag.

“The conditions are favouring swing and troubling the right-handers, so send in Jadeja at No. 5; which we usually see in the shorter formats. The right-hand and left-hand combination often troubles a bowler, so maybe to introduce that format in Tests as well,” Virender Sehwag said.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Virender Sehwag has opined that India sent Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ajinkya Rahane to force England’s bowling unit to change their line and length against a left-hander. Virender Sehwag believes that if this is not the reason then it’s not a good sign for India. He feels that it’s a one-and-done thing for India promoting Ravindra Jadeja up the batting order.

Ravindra Jadeja fell for 10, failing to make good use of the opportunity that came his way. Ajinkya Rahane scored 14 as India was dismissed for 191.

Virender Sehwag Questions Why Out Of Form Virat Kohli And Cheteshwar Pujara’s Position Weren’t Altered

Virender Sehwag further pinpointed that alongside Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara also haven’t scored runs, so it’s just a one-time affair that Ajinkya Rahane’s batting position was changed. He recalled the 2004 Australia tour where Sachin Tendulkar’s position was changed when he didn’t score good runs.

“Rahane hasn’t scored much in the last games but the same is the case with Kohli and Pujara. Why wasn’t their position altered? So, I think it could be a one-time affair,” he added.

“I remember, Tendulkar wasn’t getting runs in the 2004 tour of Australia. So, Sourav Ganguly changed his position from No. 4 to 5 and he himself batted at No.4. It happens sometimes that when you are getting out regularly while batting at a similar position then such changes are made.”

Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar [Image Courtesy: Twitter]
Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar [Image Courtesy: Twitter]

“Even when I wasn’t scoring as an opener, I was sent to bat in the middle order. When I found my rhythm back, I was back on top of the order. So that could be a possible reason for the change,” Sehwag concluded.

The former swashbuckling Indian opener further added that even he was pushed back to the middle when he was going through a rough patch.

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Shardul Thakur: Ravindra Jadeja Promoted At 5 Since India Could Use Left-Right Hand Combination

Shardul Thakur has answered arguably the most sought-out question on Day 1 of the 4th Oval Test – why was spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja sent to bat at No. 5 spot ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant.

Shardul Thakur revealed that it was a pre-planned move, considering Ravindra Jadeja’s form in the series, and a straightforward attempt to maintain the left-right batting combination at the crease.

Shardul Thakur- Getty Images
Shardul Thakur- Getty Images

Shardul Thakur: Since Ravindra Jadeja Has Scored Crucial Runs And India Could Use Left-Right Hand Combination, So He Was Promoted

Ravindra Jadeja came in ahead of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and scored an uncomfortable 34-ball 10 runs. This was only the second time he batted in the middle-order position (the first was in March 2017 against Australia) inarguably as a reward for his half-century in the first Test at Trent Bridge and a gritty 40 at Lord’s.

“I think everyone was thinking about it since a long time and whether Rishabh goes or Jadeja goes, it doesn’t really matter because both of them are match-winners.”

Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: (Sky Sports)
Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: (Sky Sports)

“We have seen that on a number of occasions Jadeja has scored crucial runs and coming to England, if you saw his batting in the first Test and also at Lord’s in the first innings, he’s been trying to stay on the pitch, he’s batting patiently and just to use that left-right combination we sent him up the order,” said Shardul Thakur, in reply to Sportskeeda’s query in the press-conference.

Shardul Thakur’s explanation also clarified that it wasn’t a reaction to Ajinkya Rahane not being ready with his batting gear after Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket, as pundits like Sunil Gavaskar initially believed it to be.

Ajinkya Rahane Fails Again

Although Ravindra Jadeja’s promotion showed the team’s growing trust in his batting abilities, it also had a glaring subtext. Ajinkya Rahane has been going through a rough patch and the manner of his dismissals has exposed his new-ball struggles against a relentless attack at home. Batting at No.6, Ajinkya Rahane scored 14 runs off 47 balls on Thursday as India was dismissed for only 191 with Shardul Thakur(57) and Virat Kohli (50) being the saving grace.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Thus, it won’t be a diabolical assumption to say that Ravindra Jadeja batting means that Ravi Shastri and Co. don’t have the same confidence in Ajinkya Rahane as they had before the last 99 times he was sent out to bat at No. 5. At the moment, it all looks to be going downhill for the vice-captain.

Ajinkya Rahane has managed only 109 runs in the ongoing series at a pathetic average of 18.17. Apart from the 61 in the 2nd Test at Lord’s, his scores read 5, 1, 18, 10, and 14.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane
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Wasim Jaffer: Ajinkya Rahane Has Been A Disappointment In Ongoing 5 Match England Series

Wasim Jaffer has analyzed the performances and future prospects of three key Indian batters in England – Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, and Cheteshwar Pujara.

The former opener said Ajinkya Rahane has simply been a ‘disappointment’ in this series, with his tally of just 95 runs after three Tests.

Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)

Wasim Jaffer: Ajinkya Rahane Has Been A Disappointment And Needs To Fire If Selected In The Next 2 Tests

Wasim Jaffer argued that the vice-captain needs to rectify his tendency to get out softly while also scoring some runs in the next two Tests if he gets a chance.

Wasim Jaffer said in a video on his YouTube channel: “Ajinkya Rahane has been a disappointment. You know, he’s been getting out through soft dismissals, mostly caught behind. A player of his quality shouldn’t do that because the batting lineup depends a lot on him. He needs to fire if he gets another Test. On away tours, he’s been a very consistent player, he’s put up huge scores in Australia, England and South Africa. He needs to fire because the nets two Tests are very, very vital.”

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Although the chances of Ajinkya Rahane getting dropped at the Oval are slim at the moment, if India decides to go ahead with this option, Hanuma Vihari is most likely to replace him. Hanuma Vihari is more experienced than any other batters on the bench and also provides the team an extra part-time bowling option.

Team India succumbed to defeat by an innings and 76 runs on Day 4 at Headingley against England. While Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli notched up half-centuries in the second innings, Ajinkya Rahane failed to come up with a decent score yet again.

Cheteshwar Pujara Should Bat In The Same Way In Near Future: Wasim Jaffer

Wasim Jaffer lauded the contributions of Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the last Test. He remarked that Cheteshwar Pujara should look to bat in a similar sanguine way in the future as well.

“Rohit batted really well. He looked set to score a hundred but unfortunately, he got out due to the umpire’s call. Pujara batted magnificently. He got out on 91 on the morning of the 4th day but he batted really well till then. He looked in a very positive mindset,” said Wasim Jaffer.

“Perhaps he should always bat in that way only because when he’s just defending, he puts pressure on himself and his partner as there isn’t much strike rotation too. I liked the way he batted here and I want him to continue because he’s got the shots,” added Wasim Jaffer.

Cheteshwar Pujara Picture Credit- Twitter.
Cheteshwar Pujara Picture Credit- Twitter.

The fourth and penultimate Test will kickstart at 3:30 PM IST at the Oval. The pitch is expected to be bouncy and seam-friendly at the start and then progressively favor spin as the game goes on.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s county stint before this tour will add to his experience when he bowls against the England batters, especially the left-handers. Shardul Thakur’s bowling had taken the hosts by surprise in Nottingham. He may return to the line-up in place of Ishant Sharma and help the team getting some runs as well on a flat Oval deck.

India predicted XI:  Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

Jos Buttler will miss the 4th Test due to the birth of his child. England may also bring in 2 changes by fielding fit-again Mark Wood and Chris Woakes besides including Ollie Pope.

England predicted XI: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow, Ollie Pope, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran/Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson

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VVS Laxman Impressed With Cheteshwar Pujara’s Mindset In 2nd Innings Of 3rd Test

VVS Laxman has heaped praise on Test specialist batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for the mindset with which India No. 3 approached his innings during his 189-ball 91 in the Leeds Test.

During an interaction, VVS Laxman reckoned that Cheteshwar Pujara capitalized on every opportunity he got from the England seamers.

VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)
VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)

VVS Laxman Impressed With Cheteshwar Pujara’s Mindset During The 2nd Innings

India succumbed to defeat by an innings and 76 runs on Day 4 at Headingley against England in the 3rd Test. While Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli notched up half-centuries in the second innings, Ajinkya Rahane failed to come up with a decent score yet again.

Cheteshwar Pujara, though, finally returned to form with a sublime 91* off 180 balls, an innings that featured 15 fours. Trailing England by 354 runs in the first innings, India ended Day 3 on an impressive 215 for 2, whittling down the deficit to 139 by stumps.

VVS Laxman said: “I was impressed with Pujara’s mindset during the 2nd innings because whenever the ball was on offer to score, he capitalized on it.”

The former middle-order batsman VVS Laxman added that Cheteshwar Pujara’s decisive foot movement was a major reason why he was able to convert the loose deliveries provided by the English seamers. VVS Laxman noted that the Indian No.3 regularly took a front foot stride which enabled him to transfer his body weight towards the bowler. As a result, his bat was firmly behind the line of the ball.

“And the second thing was his feet movement. He was looking to take his front foot forward because of which his body weight was going towards the bowler instead of falling on the off-stump. The result was that the bat was not hanging outside the off-stump, it was behind the line of the ball and that’s something you expect Pujara to continue,” Laxman said.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
Cheteshwar Pujara was under immense pressure when he walked out to bat during India’s second innings. In the 1st innings, Cheteshwar Pujara was brilliantly set up by James Anderson with a series of inswingers and the pacer followed it up with an outswinger to scalp the wicket. The manner of the dismissal attracted a lot of criticism.

However, the Saurashtra cricketer came out with a refreshingly positive approach in the second innings. He got a few leg-side freebies early in his innings but the veteran Indian batsman ensured he cashed in on them every single time. Cheteshwar Pujara played at the same tempo throughout his knock-on Day 3 at Headingley.

He, however, failed to convert it into a three-figure score thanks to an error in judgment on the morning of Day 4. Cheteshwar Pujara offered no shot to a vicious nip-backer from Ollie Robinson and was given out LBW.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s strike rate is bothering him. In the last few series starting with the New Zealand tour in 2020, his strike rate was 28.49(India vs New Zealand 2020), 29.2(India vs Australia 2020/21), 40.06(India vs England 2021), and 17.16 (WTC Final). However, in the 2nd innings of the 3rd Test, his strike rate was 48.15.

VVS Laxman: Ajinkya Rahane Is A Little Tentative And Restless

Explaining the reasons behind Ajinkya Rahane’s lean patch, VVS Laxman said the Indian vice-captain has looked very tentative and restless during the initial phases of his innings in the series thus far. Citing examples of his dismissals in the first innings at Lord’s and in both innings of the Leeds Test, VVS Laxman claimed that Ajinkya Rahane’s body was still in motion when he poked at a delivery outside off-stump.

“I think Ajinkya Rahane is a little tentative and restless at the start of his innings because of which I think he is late on the ball. If you see his dismissals at Headingley and also in the 1st innings at Lord’s, I just feel his body was still moving when he nicked the ball.”

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

VVS Laxman advised Ajinkya Rahane to be nimble on his feet and take forward strides to ensure that he transfers his weight towards the bowler.

“I think he has to be quicker and nimble on his feet and if he can push his weight forward towards the bowler, he’ll be in a much better position. And just take your time,” Laxman concluded.

Ajinkya Rahane is in the midst of yet another free fall. The Indian vice-captain has managed just 358 runs in 17 innings this year at an average of 21.05 with only two 50-plus scores. It’s fair to assume that the fourth Test between England and India at the Oval is crucial for his long-term fortunes in the Indian Test team.

While Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have played 14 Tests each since the beginning of 2020 and average 26.25 and 27.56 runs per innings, Virat Kohli averages a poor 24.68 in 11 Tests. India’s No. 3, 4, and 5 have just one century between them during this period – Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 in Melbourne – when the team has played seven Tests against England, four against Australia, and three against New Zealand.

England 432 (Root 121, Malan 70, Hameed 68, Burns 61, Shami 4-95) beat India 78 (Sharma 19, Anderson 3-6, Overton 3-14) and 278 (Pujara 91, Sharma 59, Kohli 55, Robinson 5-65) by an innings and 76 runs