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Rahane shows shades of Laxman

india Updated: Dec 31, 2013 00:17 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
India tour of South Africa

Before the Test series began, the bet was on how quickly the games would end, and allow leisure time for the players, officials, commentators and even correspondents.

India's batting was expected to crumble and the games predicted to end inside three days.

The two Tests, however, lasted five days each and with it quite a few questions have been answered.

While Virat Kohli has settled into Sachin Tendulkar's No 4 position and Cheteshwar Pujara re-asserted his authority at No 3 in the first Test and also during the first innings here, on the last day of the tour, Ajinkya Rahane stepped up to the plate and batted with the tail-enders, like VVS Laxman did.

Rahane had shown enough grit in the previous three innings, at Wanderers and the first one here at Kingsmead, but the fourth knock showed he has the skill to farm the strike and extend the innings.

When Ravindra Jadeja fell to an irresponsible stroke and exposed the tail, India were staring at an innings loss. Rahane added 69 for the last three wickets and was there for 24 overs.

"The amount of time he was with us on the bench, he kept working on fitness and technique," said MS Dhoni. "When he got his chance, he accepted it well and batted well."

While it is too early, but Rahane's success has given India someone who has the ability of Laxman, who could open, bat up the order and also bat with the tail.

"I think the ingredients are there as far as our batting line-up goes, we need to find the recipe," said Dhoni.

bowlers fail

When South Africa batted on Monday, there was a quiet plea in from an Indian fan to Ishant Sharma, "Bowl well, Ishant bhai."

Ishant could only nod.

"On these kind of dry wickets abroad, we don't have bowlers who can bend their back," said Dhoni The India bowlers did well in the first Test when there was some help, but since then looked ineffective.

Probably, Dhoni doesn't have a Dale Steyn, who can raise the bar at will. Below par in the first Test, Steyn raised the bar in the second even if it was a flat deck.