File photo of Gautam Gambhir
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir credited South Africa batters for their spirited comeback-win after being 0-1 down in the series but added the story could well have been different had Cheteshwar Pujara not dropped Keegan Petersen‘s catch off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowing in the first session of Day 4 in the third Test in Cape Town. Petersen, who was adjudged Player of the Match for his twin half-centuries in the decider, was dropped when was on 59 by Pujara.
In the 40th over of the South African second innings, Jasprit Bumrah got one to just bounce a little bit more than what Petersen expected. The South African right-hander perhaps could have let that one go but he was in such good form that he got sucked into prodding at that one and ended up getting a thick outside edge. It was just below Pujara’s chest; he went at it with his fingers pointing below but made a meal of it.
Gambhir agreed that dropping a catch is part and parcel of any cricket match but added that it the timing of that drop proved to be costly for India.
“Massive (impact on the game) but these things happen on the cricket field. Pujara or anyone, probably the best of fielders in the world have dropped catches. But probably at that juncture of the game, it was very crucial probably a series-dropping catch as well. Keegan Petersen was looking great. The 24 runs that he added acted as a gold mine. It’s been a challenge scoring against an Indian attack like that. At that stage had probably Pujara taken that catch, India could have got two or three quickly and would have been right back in the game,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.
Petersen went on to score 82 and played a major role in the hosts 212-run chase, which helped the clinch the Test series 2-1.
Gambhir reserved high praise for South African batters for the way they came back after the 113-run defeat in the first Test in Centurion.
“South Africa were the better side, especially coming from behind after the first Test. They looked a very different side from the second match onwards. Mind you, this is a very inexperienced South African side and they were up against one of the strongest Indian sides, probably the best bowling attack India have had in a very long time plus a lot of experience in the batting,” Gambhir added.
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