Former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar had words of praise for senior batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane after their partnership in the second Test. The duo stitched together a 100-run alliance when India was in a spot of bother at 55/3.
They combined sheer determination with classy shots at Lord’s and took India to relative safety. India was leading by just 28 runs when they joined hands at the crease. While applauding Pujara and Rahane for responding under heavy criticism, Gavaskar said:
“They did (play a crucial role). Both of them are what you call low-profile players and not high-profile players. They don’t get the attention that some others do.”
“It may be because of the style of play or whatever but they are invaluable to the team and they brought all their experience to play.”
Pujara and Rahane put in a fabulous effort, said Sunil Gavaskar
The reliable opening partnership was broken early for the first time in the series. This put pressure on the batsmen to follow, especially an out-of-form Pujara. There were questions about his strike rate but he was indifferent to it and played his typical game.
It did work in India’s favor as he blunted the England attack for a while with Kohli batting fluently at the other end. The Indian skipper fell soon though, which brought Rahane to the crease. They scored just 48 runs in the second session on Day 4, but Gavaskar felt the partnership was more important at the time.
“They hadn’t scored runs in the first Test. So it was clear that they were under pressure. They hadn’t scored runs in the first innings as well. There were a lot of questions asked about their place in the team and they responded in the only way they can, by stitching together a partnership when it was most needed.”
“India were only 28 runs ahead and had lost their best batsmen Virat Kohli when these two came together. Fabulous effort,” he said.
Their partnership paid dividends later on, as India set a target of 272 for the hosts with the tail chipping in with stunning efforts. Eventually, Kohli’s men rolled over England to win the second Test by 151 runs.