Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar today criticised the performance of India’s top-order batsmen save Murali Vijay terming their effort as “below-par” despite the pitch being a tricky one.

Asked about how would he rate the performance of the specialist batsmen, with India scoring 215 in their first innings, Gavaskar told NDTV: “It was below par apart from Murali Vijay, who got a top class delivery. The other batsmen were out playing shots which one would not play when they are confident and among runs.”

‘Vijay is confident of his off-stump’

“Vijay is among runs and that is why he is such a good leaver of the deliveries outside off-stump. He is confident of his off-stump,” Gavaskar said.

However, considering the nature of the pitch, Gavaskar called 215 a “good score” although he refused to put it at par with a 400-plus score on a better pitch.

“215 is a good score. Normally, days 1 & 2 are the best for batting but if you say that it is as good as 400, may be that’s not quite right. Since 215 is the highest score in an innings so far, a lot of credit should go to Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha’s partnership, had they not scored those runs (48), then India would be all out for 175.”

AB and Duminy would be key

The key for South Africa would be how AB de Villiers and J. P. Duminy perform along with Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla rallying around them.

“The reason for AB’s success on these pitches is because he stays low and is light on his feet. That enables him to quickly come forward or go back playing both cut and pull shots. In Australia or South Africa, where there is true bounce, you can stand tall but on this low, slow turners, you need to stay low. AB is doing just that,” said Gavaskar.