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The tale of two openers: Prithvi Shaw soars, KL Rahul plummets

Prithvi Shaw slammed 66 off 69 balls while KL Rahul struggled before falling for a 18-ball 3 against Cricket Australia XI in the tour game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: November 29, 2018 11:54 IST
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Prithvi Shaw scored 66 off 69 balls in the tour game vs Cricket Australia XI

The Prithvi Shaw bandwagon has been set rolling and there's no stopping it. The 19-year-old smashed a half-century in his third consecutive match for the national side following a hundred on his debut versus West Indies.

Shaw, who turned 19 on November 9, was handed an opportunity against the West Indies in the two-match Test series and he grabbed them with both hands.

The Mumbaikar smashed 134 on his debut to become the youngest Indian to hit a Test century on debut. He also became the first man to hit hundreds on Ranji, Duleep Trophy and Test debut. The diminutive batter then followed it up with a breezy 70 and 33 not out in the second Test as India swept the two-match series.

Shaw was adjudged the man-of-the-series for his 237-run series and that set the tone for what was to follow.

With Shikhar Dhawan out of the frame and Murali Vijay dropped after the second Test in England, Shaw was being looked at as the opener for the Australia series and with his good show against the Windies, he ended up being one of the first names on the team sheet.

He along with other senior players were sent to New Zealand with the India A side to prepare for the Australia series and the stylish right-hander crunched a 62 and 50 in both the innings against New Zealand A at Mount Maunganui in the first-class game.

Coming to Australia, Shaw started off where he left off and scored a 69-ball 66 before getting bowled round his leg off Daniel Fallins. On Thursday, Shaw looked a man filled with confidence to the brim. Punching off his back foot, hooking and driving through the covers, Shaw showed again why he is rated so highly in another overcast day in Sydney.

But the story for his partner was a stark opposite.

Rahul, who struggled in England before that sparkling century at The Oval in the last Test was a man, who forgot how to bat it seemed in the West Indies Tests.

The Karnataka lad only managed 37 runs from three innings against the Windies and looked a shadow of his former self. His bad form contiued in coloured clothing as well.

He managed only 89 runs from five T20Is against West Indies and Australia. 

Rahul however was supposed to be preferred over Vijay to begin the Australia tour along with Shaw but he didn't get the beginning he thought he would. As most of the Indian batsmen made merry against a weak Cricket Australia XI attack, Rahul's stay at the crease only lasted 18 balls.

The 26-year-old failed to hit the ground running under seaming conditions but fell to a wide full-length ball while trying to drive through the covers. Rahul's cover drive off Jackson Coleman was never in control and flew straight to Max Bryant, who was fielding at short-cover.

With the first Test starting on December 6 in Adelaide, this was a golden opportunity for him to feel the ball on his bat and regain touch but he failed and now a week later, he will be up against the fiery trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood -- which is clearly not a good place to be

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