KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal
KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal (Image: BCCI)

South Africa made a sturdy comeback on the opening day of the second Test from their 113-run defeat to India in Centurion.

Pace bowler Duanne Olivier replaced all-rounder Wiaan Mulder is South Africa’s playing XI and Western Province wicketkeeper-batter Kyle Verreynne came in place of Quinton de Kock, who declared his retirement from Test cricket.

For India, Hyderabad batter Hanuma Vihari replaced skipper Virat Kohli as the latter sustained an upper back spasm.

Olivier paired with Kagiso Rabada to share the new ball duties and together the duo alongside Marco Jansen skittled down the visitors for a meagre score of 202.

Despite stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s well-composed knock of 50 runs from 133 balls, the Proteas were successful in scripting India’s downfall as Jansen (4/31), Rabada (3/64) and Olivier (3/64) ran through their batting line-up.

Senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed on successive deliveries by Olivier in the 24th over of India’s innings.

Pujara lobbed a catch to Temba Bavuma who came jogging in from gully to send the batter for three, the very next ball Rahane feathered a wide delivery pitched outside off-stump by Olivier. The ball went safely in hands of Keegan Petersen at the third slip.

Indian wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik is of the opinion that either of Pujara or Rahane will have to make way for Kohli for the third Test in Cape Town.

At No. 3 in inarguably the world’s best cricket team, to find a spot there for three years and not score a hundred – he (Pujara) will know he’s got a long, long rope. To a large extent they are playing because of the potential they have, and the performances they have shown, and obviously, they are senior statesmen [in the team] as well,” Karthik told Cricbuzz.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

“But the long rope they have been given is slowly burning out and you are coming to the end of it. I am very, very sure that they are both aware of it. Also, we have got to see the potential of the players at the back, they have done as well. Now if Virat Kohli returns, you get a feeling that one of the two has to give way,” he added.

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan lauded opener KL Rahul’s batting efforts against South Africa in the second Test.

Rahul, who is leading India in the second Test in the absence of Virat Kohli, led the team’s innings from the front brilliant knock of 50 runs from 133 balls before he fell to Marco Jansen in the 46th over.

India were bowled out for 202 as the Proteas were successful in displaying a remarkable bowling show as Jansen (4/31), Kagiso Rabada (3/64) and Duanne Olivier (3/64) ran through the opponents’ batting line-up.

KL Rahul has taken the captaincy responsibility very well on his shoulders: Irfan Pathan

Irfan said that Rahul took the captaincy role on his shoulders and heaped praise over the way he batted against the Proteas when his teammates struggled to find runs.

There was no negative impact of captaincy on KL Rahul’s batting, it was very good to see that. He has been playing for a long time, he is a senior player as well. He has taken the captaincy responsibility very well on his shoulders,” Irfan said on Star Sports.

Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan (Image Credit: Instagram)

“If you ask any batter in the world where it is most difficult to score runs – he will say New Zealand and South Africa, especially if you are an opener. You need to show a lot of commitment and mental stability but most importantly you have to show the technique that has been shown by KL Rahul and that is why he has got this result,” he added.

KL Rahul has shown consistency in his batting: Irfan Pathan

Things have been changing like a roller-coaster ride for the Karnataka batter for the last few months. Rahul was not even considered as a regular member of the Indian Test side as he had a two-year hiatus of playing red-ball cricket for India.

Rahul was named in India’s Test squad for the England Test series as a back-up and only injuries to Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal allowed him the chance to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. Rahul amassed 315 runs from eight innings and scored a marvellous 129 in the second Test at the Lord’s.

He also started the South Africa tour with a blistering 123 in Centurion and Irfan said that the Karnataka batter has been consistent in the red-ball cricket.

KL Rahul has shown consistency in his batting, especially in Test cricket. He kept on leaving deliveries outside the off-stump. We saw the same commitment when he was playing his 126th delivery, that we saw right at the start,” Irfan said.

India is currently leading the three-match Test series 1-0 after their 113-run clinical victory in the first Test.

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