Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday slammed opener Lokesh Rahul for the manner of his dismissal in India's second innings where the visitors were chasing a record 287-run target to win the second Test against South Africa in Centurion.
Chasing a daunting target, India suffered an early setback when they lost Murali Vijay for 9 in the 8th over. South Africa struck again in the 12th over when Lungi Ngidi, bowling his first over of the innings, saw Rahul off for 4.
Ngidi bowled a harmless length ball outside off. Rahul could have left it alone all day long. Instead, he hit it off the middle of the bat straight to Keshav Maharaj at backward point. The fielder would have felt like participating in a catch-practise session.
It appeared to be a momentary lapse in concentration from the Karnataka batsman.
Gavaskar, who was in the commentary box at that time, couldn't hold back his words.
"What was he trying to do? He had to keep the ball down... he played it straight to the fielder at backward point," quipped Gavaskar.
Rahul's failure in the second innings will only result in the critics questioning Kohli's motive behind dropping Shikhar Dhawan for the second Test. Rahul, who made a paltry 10 in the first innings, replaced Dhawan for the ongoing Test - a move which was questioned by many.
Earlier, India managed to restrict South Africa to 258 in the second innings despite AB de Villiers' 80, Dean Elgar's 61 and Faf du Plessis' 48, courtesy Mohammed Shami who took four wickets and Jasprit Bumrah who picked three.