File photo of Sunil Gavaskar© X (formerly Twitter)
Legendary Indian cricket team batter Sunil Gavaskar believes that the presence of veteran star Ajinkya Rahane could have boosted India’s top order in the first Test match against South Africa in Centurion on Tuesday. India struggled to get going after the rain-delayed start on Day 1 and none of the top-order batters were able to capitalise on their starts with Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal all losing their wickets early. Rahane has fallen out of favour with the team management and was not included for the South Africa series after less than satisfactory performances in the past. However, Gavaskar said that his overseas record would have proven crucial in the South African conditions.
“People have been talking about the pitch in Johannesburg Test five years back and I was there. Yeah it wasn’t the easiest of pitches to bat on the odd ball was climbing up. And Ajinkya Rahane, who had not been picked for the first two Test matches, was picked for that game and he showed what the Indian team had missed because earlier on in the first couple of Test matches India did not lose by big margins. So maybe somebody with Rahane’s experience overseas… because Rahane overseas has been such a fine, fine player and maybe if he had been there today the story could have been completely different,” Gavaskar said on commentary on Star Sports.
South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took five wickets but a fighting innings by KL Rahul kept Indian hopes alive on the first day of the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday.
India were 208 for eight when bad light followed by rain brought an early close.
Rabada took five for 44 – his 14th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Rahul, who made a century to set up an Indian win on the same ground two seasons ago, was unbeaten on 70. Rabada was outstanding for the hosts after they sent India in to bat on a pitch which had been under cover because of rain for 40 hours leading up to the morning of the match.
(With AFP inputs)
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