As India prepared for the second Test against Australia after the heavy defeat in the opening match, one of the players in focus was their middle-order anchor, Ajinkya Rahane, and his trouble facing spin bowling. (Live Blog |Live scorecard)
Ajinkya Rahane, a picture of consistency while playing abroad, has struggled against spinners at home. In the current home season, he has fallen to slow bowlers 11 times. It has raised questions whether the batsman who is at home against the best quicks on bouncy pitches abroad, has a problem playing spin.
On Saturday, as India were struggling on the M Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch after electing to bat, Rahane was expected to dig in. But unsure against off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who pitched it a tad short and got the ball to bounce and turn just that bit more, he repeatedly went down the wicket to get to the pitch.
However, it ended in an ugly dismissal. Lyon fired one down the corridor just outside off-stump. Rahane went down the wicket and was beaten as he tried to check his shot, but even luck didn’t favour him as wicketkeeper Mathew Wade, who fumbled in his first attempt, completed the stumping in the second.
Ajinkya Rahane this season has now been dismissed by a spinner for the 11th time in 15 innings!— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 4, 2017
Steve O'Keefe doing it twice!#IndvAus
BACKING FOR SKIPPER, COACH
As he returned to the side following a finger injury during the England series, skipper Virat Kohli gave him the vote of confidence, saying newcomer Karun Nair will have to step aside despite his triple century in the Chennai Test against England.
Asked whether the Indian team, which had adopted the horses-for-courses policy over a period of time, will contemplate asking Ajinkya Rahane to sit out the Bangalore match, coach Anil Kumble dismissed the suggestion.
“There’s no question of looking at dropping Rahane. He’s scored really well... He’s been extremely successful over the last couple of years. There’s absolutely no question about that.”
In the Pune Test, on a rank turner, India’s batting unit as a whole caved in against spin, with left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe finishing with 12/70.
But after his dismissal on Saturday, Rahane, the rock for India away from home, will have to seriously rework his technique against spin.