Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar is happy with the way Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli batted on the third day of the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg on Friday. Gavaskar says he feels that the duo should carry forward the legacy left by Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. (Day 3 Report)
"Pujara is just like Dravid as he shows the same hunger for runs, same application and same dedication towards the team's cause. Kohli is also batting beautifully at number four position. Rahul and Sachin were absolutely phenomenal not just for few years but decades and that is what these two youngsters should strive to do. They should be like Dravid and Tendulkar and put India ahead of everything," Gavaskar told NDTV. (Highlights)
Dravid and Tendulkar hold the record for most number of century partnerships in Tests. The duo together scored 6920 with 20 century stands at 50.51. Pujara and Kohli have added an unbeaten 191 runs for the third wicket to give India a 320-run lead over the Proteas. This is also India's highest third-wicket partnership against South Africa in South Africa, eclipsing the 176 between Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar at Cape Town in January 2011. (Day 3 in pictures)
Pujara, who was recently named the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the year 2013, justified the title and tormented the South African pace attack that clearly missed Morne Morkel - injured while fielding. Pujara was unbeaten on 135 while Kohli was batting on 77 as India reached 284 for two at the close on Day 3.
Gavaskar says India have the upper hand but the visitors need to bat a little more and score some quick runs before declaring their innings. "I think the pitch has eased up and batting will be easier on fourth day and India certainly have the upper hand," he added. (Morkel doubtful for second Test)
The former opener also reckons a target close to 500 will be good enough. "The fifth day's pitch will be helpful for spinners and a lot will rest on (Ravichandran) Ashwin's shoulders. A target between 450 and 500 will be good at this Wanderers pitch," Gavaskar said. (Philander fastest South African to 100 Test wickets)
Gavaskar is also satisfied with the way the India have adapted to the conditions in South Africa and hopes they keep the momentum going. "India have adapted well to the conditions even though they were a little slow to adjust initially," Gavaskar said. (Stats)