At a time when his test cricket career appears in the doldrums, Ajinkya Rahane would have been the last person to want a capricious umpire or have one on the field but with a whim that went against him, but that was what fate had in store for him. The batsman was adjudged LBW by on-field umpire Allahudein Paleker but not before initially denying South African bowler Kagiso Rabada‘s appeal.
This happened in the first session on the third day of the Johannesburg Test. India was well-placed, thanks to a stunning counterattack from Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane, who bought up their 100-run partnership. Pujara happens to be the other cricketer in the Indian squad who has only tests to prove his worth even as he has not impressed in this format for a long time, as Sirf News had analysed yesterday.
Rahane and Pujara scored at almost 5 runs per over throughout their alliance in the middle, something that is seldom expected of them. Things were going great for the Indian side before Rabada got a ball to misbehave off the pitch and induced a faint edge off Rahane’s willow.
The South Africans went up confidently in their appeal but Paleker turned it down initially. Moments later, when the Proteas began pondering over a review, Paleker raised the dreaded finger, signalling that Rahane was out. Having known that he edged it, Rahane walked off but not before contributing 58.
Both Rahane and Pujara started out positively in the morning, scoring boundaries off almost every over. None of the bowlers could maintain their lengths for prolonged periods of time and ended up leaking runs as India’s lead swelled past the 100-run mark.
Luckily for the hosts, their trusted pacer, Rabada, turned on the heat and began troubling the Indian batsmen. He removed Rahane with a peach before trapping Pujara right in front of the stumps for an LBW decision. As things have panned out, a target of 200 runs could well be a winning total on the bouncy Johannesburg pitch.