Cricket News: The Indian pace unit appears to be on a global level in Test cricket, but the team’s inconsistency in the middle order remains a problem as it seeks to win its first Test series in South Africa. The under-fire Cheteshwar Pujara-Ajinkya Rahane duo’s bad luck continued on Monday when bowler Duanne Olivier took both out cheaply in the ongoing second Test in Johannesburg.
Batting third, Pujara pushed forward to defend Olivier’s pitch, but the additional bounce at Wanderers cut short his innings. The bat’s shoulder cut the ball, allowing Temba Bavuma to make the easiest of catches. On the next delivery, Rahane departed by nicking it to Keegan Petersen in the slip cordon.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra was perplexed by Pujara and Rahane’s approach on the Wanderers surface, claiming that the pair rushed too far forward and failed to assess the bounce and pace. “Pujara has a lot of patience as well as the ability to defend.” However, he is beset by two problems. First and foremost, he wants to score runs.
“He’s not even hitting the half volley with full force, and his dismissals have an odd rhythm to them.” In the first innings of the Centurion Test, he had nicked Ngidi’s delivery. Why is he even trying to play off the front foot instead of exploiting the depth of the crease, if we look at his hands and the height of his delivery?” Chopra questioned Star Sports.
“Bowlers will enjoy bowling against you on South African wickets if you are continuously lunging forward with low hands. Extra bounce, low hands, lunging forward… that’s a problem waiting to happen “Added he.
Pujara has gone 45 innings without a century, with his last tonne coming in Sydney in 2019. Morne Morkel, a former South African bowler, too remarked on the short ball strategy, insisting on Pujara’s “desire to score.” “In South Africa, he needs to find a method to get off the strike and have the desire to score. There’s no nicer feeling for a bowler than running in and knowing the batter isn’t attempting to take you on.”
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