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South Africa vs India: Sunil Gavaskar weighs in on Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane conundrum

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SA vs IND: Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara score individual fifties but end up losing.© AFP

Former Indian cricket team captain Sunil Gavaskar elaborated on some of the reasons why Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara could have been included in the Johannesburg Test. Both the under-fire batsmen made their way to individual fifties, but defeat saw hosts South Africa bounce back and level the series 1-1 in fine style. Dean Elgar made a stellar performance with the bat as the home team chased down a target of 240 with seven wickets to spare. The final Test is to be played in Cape Town from January 11.

Looking at the way both Pujara and Rahane batted, Gavaskar only had words of praise for the Indian middle order batsmen. According to him, India stuck to this combination and backed the players because of their experience.

Rahane and Pujara scored 58 and 53 runs respectively in the second innings to justify the team management’s decision to some extent.

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Speaking on the post-match show, Gavaskar said: “Look, the Indian team has backed him. [Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane] Because of his experience, because of what he has done for India in the past. As long as the senior players are playing, playing well, not getting out badly, if they are getting out on good deliveries then it doesn’t matter but if they are not getting out bad, then I think they should ask them (Combination) should stick to.

Both the teams will now travel to Cape Town for the decider. According to stand-in captain KL Rahul and head coach Rahul Dravid, regular skipper Virat Kohli is expected to return after being ruled out of the second Test due to an upper back spasm.

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