New Delhi, Jan 3: India opener KL Rahul failed to encash the opportunity at hand as he was dismissed cheaply for 9 in the first innings of the Sydney Test against Australia on Thursday (January 3).
The Karnataka cricketer, who isn't going with the best of form, was given another chance by the team management when he was included in the Playing XI as a replacement to Rohit Sharma. Rahul opened the innings with buddy Mayank Agarwal but his stay into the middle was short-lived as he was dismissed just on the ninth delivery of the day's play.
Rahul had got two boundaries in his small innings but the batsman wasn't looking in his zone before getting dismissed by Josh Hazlewood. The right-handed batsman's struggle with the ball going away from him continued and was eventually lured into playing one to be caught comfortably by Shaun Marsh at first slip for 9.
It was the fourth occasion in this series when Lokesh Rahul was dismissed by Hazlewood. The Karnataka batsman never looked at ease against Australian pacers and failed to give his team a decent start. It was just one occasion in this series when he didn't lose his wicket before a fifty-run opening stand.
It was Rahul's poor show prompted Twitterati to once again question the position of the batsman.
Here's how he was criticised on the social media:
KL Rahul scores since 1 Jan 2018 ...........— S A N D E E P (@SandeepRohitian) January 3, 2019
54 Vs Afg
average of 21.7
50's - 1
Forget Rafale. There should be a CBI probe on why Kohli and Shastri continue to back KL Rahul. I know cricket is a funny game, but this is getting ridiculous and so deflating for others who perform in domestic cricket. #AUSvIND— Nitin Naik (@toi_nitinnayak) January 3, 2019
Fan: Sir, what is the secret behind your consistency?— Krishna (@Atheist_Krishna) January 3, 2019
KL Rahul: pic.twitter.com/89iOY5W7Ui
KL Rahul knows something very bad about Kohli or Shastri.— Kuptaan 🇮🇳 (@Kuptaan) January 3, 2019
Only year changed and KL Rahul remains the same...— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) January 2, 2019
KL Rahul might be the first guy on the planet to break his New Year resolution already.— Iyengar Puliyodarai (@MadSachinist) January 3, 2019
Virat Kohli: What was the need to bat at a strike rate of 150 and lose your wicket?— Sir Jadeja (@SirJadeja) January 3, 2019
KL Rahul: pic.twitter.com/FDQmR9dScD
Earlier in the day, India opted against selecting Ravichandran Ashwin, instead picked Kuldeep Yadav as their second spinner in Sydney.
Ashwin was initially ruled out of India's squad due to the side strain that kept him out in Perth, only for the tourists to then change tack and reveal a decision on his availability would be made on the morning of the game.
The off-spinner did bowl at the Sydney Cricket Ground prior to Thursday's toss but was ultimately left out as India picked Kuldeep in place of Ishant Sharma, giving them a second frontline spin option in addition to Ravindra Jadeja.
India won the toss and opted to bat, with KL Rahul replacing Rohit Sharma in their other change. Rohit had been ruled out earlier in the week after returning home for the birth of his first child.
Australia's team also shows two alterations, with Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh axed.
Usman Khawaja will open in Finch's absence, while Marnus Labuschagne is slated to bat at three and Peter Handscomb returns in the middle order.