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Rohit, Pujara And Virat Ought To Make Up For The First Inning’s Massive Failure

image-liowyl8xAjinkya Rahane and KS Bharat in WTC Final (AP Photo)

India started the third day of the much crucial World Test Championship Final with the score reading 151 for 5. This score line, truth be told, ought to have been, at least, a couple of wickets less than what was actually the truth. Therefore, to say that when India were on the back foot when they began the contest on day 3 would be akin to saying that when it rains, one gets wet. 

It was well understood. It was that obvious. The task that lay ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, ever a crisis handler, was truth be told, burdensome. Not that to the quiet handler of calamity would have seen it like that. 

There are some that soak in the plaudits having done little when it really comes down to contributing; and then there are those who handle gloom with poise. Perhaps in around a decade of seeing Ajinkya Rahane bat for India in Test match cricket, one knows a thing or two about his abilities. 

All that he’d have so loved before he finally found his batting partner for the day, Shardul Thakur getting along after appearing a touch fidgety and maybe even unsure as to what to do (initially), was some support from the rest of the names on the scorecard. 

Those weren’t just names; those were- as they are-icons of batsmanship with the possible exception in there being Shubman Gill, who happens to be batting like a great in the making. But not on this occasion. And ditto for the famous Indian batting troika comprising Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. 

Before Rahane dug a well of nearly ceaseless concentration, handling fast medium seamers with the watchfulness of a monk utterly unwilling to put his guard down, each of the members of India’s famous top order trinity had perished thereby only adding to the woes one may have thought the Shardul-Ajinkya pair was about to endure. 

And truth be told, even as the contest is now fully open, a slew of early wickets for Australia coupled with India fighting back towards the end of the day allowing the team to crawl its way back, what did put India on the absolute back foot were a string of dismissals by its batters that did remain on the back foot. 

Faulty batting coupled with indecisive shot making allows a team that should ideally have scored a heap of runs on the same wicket where Aussies got going to self capitulate. Rohit Sharma was caught right in front of the wicket. The ball was perhaps too fast and not moving nearly enough for the elegant batter’s liking but, hey a dismissal on account of a fault in judgment is a fault of the batsman, not the bowler. 

The Virat Kohli dismissal was talked about with perhaps the same intensity and frequency with which one talks elaborately about having attended a big fat Indian wedding, where the talks, as also for rancour and banter, are endless. Perhaps, at this very moment, someone somewhere is tweeting about how Kohli ought to have left it; instead of playing it. 

But what’s done is done. There’s little you and I can do about it, except consider the atrocious batting show by such charismatic and accomplished batters as being an episode of rancid failure that shouldn’t have panned out the way it did. 

All of that said, the biggest shocker- for really- there’s no other way to put it- is the Cheteshwar Pujara dismissal. Yet another batsman, who much like Shubman Gill, failed to read the line of the delivery pitched around off and instead of playing at it, actually left it. He left it much to his own dismay. 

While Boland had sent Gill packing earlier, Pujara committed batting suicide of Green. And that was that; a powerful top order bellied by extravagant and even technically correct batters pushed into the gravel almost having made no more than 56 runs on the whole. 

But what’s funny and also something to ponder about is that how a Shardul Thakur who might not immediately feature on your all time Indian test eleven while a Pujara and Kohli can hung around and eventually made it count. 

Before striking what became just his fourth, if also timely and valuable, fifty in Test cricket- Thakur made batting look easy. 

While Rahane, who’d miss out on his ton and gather a 27th Test fifty, was glowing towards the covers, Thakur was seen playing a really gorgeous straight drive; pretty much the strokes that from Rohit or Pujara’s bat would’ve sent the crowd into a tizzy. 

Any cover drives from Virat’s bat would’ve only enticed the crowds further and that too, on either sides of the spectrum. Though, unfortunately that wasn’t meant to be. There’s still one more Indian outing with the bat left out there. 

Yet, one more golden opportunity to get the fans going and people talking. The king must unleash himself and Pujara, for all that month and a half long experience of shining bright for Sussex must make it count. 

The massive disappointment of having missed out is still there; but all’s not over. There’s more cricket, rains notwithstanding, still left for us all. And while all would welcome more Rahane runs out there, what won’t be welcomed with glee would be if he’s the lone man standing yet again with the top brass of batting having failed once again.