Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha feels senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara need to find solutions after both players failed to conjure much in the first innings of the first Test against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Thursday. Both Pujara and Rahane started off well but failed to get a big score against a gutsy New Zealand bowling line-up. While Pujara edged one to the keeper off a Tim Southee delivery, Rahane was beaten by Kyle Jamieson’s pace and bounce, chopping one onto the stumps.
During a discussion on Cricbuzz, Ojha analysed the pattern of Pujara and Rahane’s dismissals.
“As we know, Pujara tends to struggle against the in-swinging delivery. He has been dismissed LBW on many occasions. So, to compensate for that, he is trying to play a bit close but that has not helped him. Now, he is getting dismissed by giving outside edges,” said Ojha.
The former Indian cricketer also lauded the New Zealand team for their compact field placements, not allowing Indian batters to take singles, and forcing them to make mistakes.
“If you look at the field placement, most of the players are inside the circle as they don’t want India to take singles. They want them to score runs through the square-leg region, but the bowlers are trying to bowl as straight as possible to get an edge or lbw,” he added.
Pragyan Ojha signed off by saying that Pujara and Rahane need to rectify their mistakes as both are standing at a critical point in their respective careers.
“They (Pujara and Rahane) are standing at a difficult point in their career. They have to find solutions. If they continue to get dismissed in the same pattern, things might get even trickier in the future,” he concluded.
India won the toss and the stand-in skipper Rahane decided to bat first against New Zealand in the first Test.
Shubman Gill gave India a decent start after Mayank Agarwal failed to conjure much on Day 1. Gill went on to smash a brilliant 53 before being castled by Jamieson.
At tea, India were 154/4 with debutant Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle. For the Kiwis, Jamieson was the pick of the bowlers with three dismissals to his name.
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