'If I want to be harsh....' - KL Rahul points out where India lost the plot after J'burg Test defeat vs SA

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 07, 2022, 03:43 PM(IST)

Rahul points out where India lost the plot after J'burg Test defeat vs SA Photograph:( AFP )

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Stand-in captain KL Rahul reflected back on India's J'burg Test loss versus South Africa as the three-match series is now levelled at 1-1.

The second Test between India and South Africa ended on Day 4 at The Wanderers, Johannesburg on Thursday (January 6). The match was set for an epic finish at stumps on Day 3 when India needed 8 more wickets whereas SA were need of 122 more runs -- chasing 240 -- at the iconic stadium. While rain interruption and wet outfield led to the first two sessions being washed out on Day 4, the evening session was enough for the Proteas to produce a result with a seven-wicket win to keep the series alive.

Sans regular captain Virat Kohli, KL Rahul-led India fought very hard before going down in the fourth and penultimate day. Batting first, India only managed 202 on board in the first innings and conceded a vital 27-run lead to the home side. In their second essay, India were dismissed for 266, setting up a 240-run target. Eventually, Elgar's resistance (96 not out) and other vital contributions from the SA batters led to the hosts' series-levelling win.

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Captaining India for the first time for a full match, in Kohli's absence, Rahul lauded Team India. He mentioned where India lost the plot in a closely-fought contest in J'burg, provided update on Captain Kohli and shared words of praise for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. In the post-match presentation, Rahul said, "Every Test match we play, we want to win, we go out there and compete hard, but South Africa played really well and deserved this victory. We were looking to get on the field today, try and do something special, 122 to get, the pitch was playing up and down, we had a good chance, but their batters played really well. If I want to be harsh, the first innings total of 202 was at least 50-60 runs short, we should have scored more and put them under pressure. Shardul (Thakur) has been superb for us, has won us a lot of games, he bowled well in the first innings and gave us a chance today as well. They have been great players for us (on Pujara and Rahane), have always done the job for us over the years, have been under the pump recently, but we believe Pujara and Rahane are our best middle-order players, to go out there, bat in that mindset and play such an innings. It'll give them confidence and make them do even better in the next Test.

"Virat is already feeling better, he's been doing a bit of fielding and think he'll be fine. With Siraj, we need to monitor him in the nets. It's tough to come back immediately from a hamstring issue, but we do have a good bench strength in the form of Umesh and Ishant. We expected this when we came here, every Test will be competitive and challenging, we'll be more hungrier after this disappointing loss. Looking forward to Cape Town and the third Test.," Rahul added.

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India will like to take a lot of positives from the J'burg Test. The fact that they managed to compete so well with no Kohli in the middle speaks volumes of the team's confidence. Shardul Thakur's all-round performance, vital runs from Pujara and Rahane and Hanuma Vihari will keep India in good stead before the series finale.

India still have a chance to create history by winning their maiden Test series in South Africa during the forthcoming third and final Test, at Newlands Cape Town, on January 11 and also conquer the final frontier (among SENA countries). 

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