Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara had come under fire after a poor string of performances in the middle order this season. Both the batsmen haven’t managed a century in 2021 and their form had been concerning up until the third innings at Lord’s.
On that occasion, the duo seized the opportunity and endured a tough time in the middle after India were put in a delicate situation. They put on a strong partnership to swing the favour of the match back in India’s favour. Pujara scored a gritty 45 off 206 deliveries while Rahane scored 61 runs. Their partnership helped Shami and Bumrah launch a lower-order assault on Day 5 which in turn, gave the Indian team the chance to win the Test.
Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar hailed the duo and celebrated their comeback at a crucial point of the match. According to him, their contribution was invaluable.
“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,” Gavaskar told Sony Sports after India’s 151-run win in the Lord’s Test.
India were three wickets down quite early in the second innings and needed players with experience to aid the situation. That is exactly what Pujara and Rahane did when they came on to the pitch. Despite criticism, they responded well to what was asked of them by the team management.
“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 added.
Sunil Gavaskar also slammed the England team and said that it doesn’t look like a proper Test team after its embarrassing and dramatic loss to India in the last hour of Day 5 at Lord’s. “England is a two-man team. It’s just Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson. With the greatest of respect to all who are playing there, it doesn’t look like a proper Test team,” Gavaskar said on Sony Sports Network.
“I think India will win the remaining three matches of the series. I had said at the beginning of the series that India should win it 4-0 or 3-1 and I still believe that result is possible if rain doesn’t spoilsport,” Gavaskar said.