India's Cheteshwar Pujara walks back to the pavilion after getting dismissed on the first day of the second Test at the Wanderers. Image Credit: AFP

Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed once again with the bat, scoring just three and nought, in the first innings of the second Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

In the year 2021, Pujara had scored 702 runs averaging just 28 in 26 innings from 14 Tests. Whereas Ajinkya Rahane had just scored 479 runs in 13 Tests matches averaging below 21, which was further dented when he got out off the first ball today. Indian openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had done all the hard work playing out the first hour without any causality. But as soon as Mayank got out, India lost both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane on consecutive deliveries to Duanne Olivier, leaving India in a precarious position at 49/3. India somehow managed to reach 202 thanks to their stand-in captain Rahul’s half century and Ravichandran Ashwin’s 46. The total looked a well below par after winning the toss.

Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar feels both Pujara and Rahane have a maximum of one more innings to save their spots as well as their careers. Shreyas Iyer, who had scored a hundred on debut against Kiwis, has been left out and the cricket Pundits feel both the senior pros of India have been given a long rope but have not delivered in spite of so many chances.

South Africa's Duanne Olivier celebrates after dismissing Ajinkya Rahane. Image Credit: Reuters

One of the reasons both veterans got so many opportunities, in spite of their poor form, is because the Indian team had been on a winning streak in Tests last year — winning eight and losing just three — and have been the No 1 team in Tests after winning series in Australia and beating England in England and also South Africa at Centurion.

But time seems to be running out for both Pujara and Rahane and some runs in the second innings might not help them to save their place in the team.