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Ajinkya Rahane confident of converting starts into big scores vs Sri Lanka

Ajinkya Rahane, Indian cricket team’s middle-order batsman, says he is not concerned about being unable to reach triple figure mark consistently ahead of the three-Test series against Sri Lanka

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2017 18:54 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
India vs Sri Lanka,Ajinkya Rahane,Indian cricket team
Ajinkya Rahane will be one of India’s batting mainstays in the Test series against Sri Lanka.(REUTERS)

Ajinkya Rahane bats higher up the order for Mumbai than for India, but barring 132 in Colombo earlier this year, he hasn’t been able to make the best of starts.

The India vice-captain began the year with an 82 in the first innings against Bangladesh but has since scored two fifties --- a second innings 52 against Australia and 57 in the first innings against Sri Lanka at Galle --- barring that ton at the Sinhalese Sports Club in 13 Test innings.

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While that may not be a matter of concern, India’s No 5 hasn’t really broken the jinx of not getting big scores. Even in Mumbai’s 500th Ranji Trophy game last week, he made 0 and 45.

“I am not too concerned about that. For me, I am batting well. I got four fifties in a row in the one-day series (against Australia). Yes, I got out on 49 and 45 in Ranji Trophy but it was important to play as many balls as possible and get practice for this Test series,” said Rahane before India’s training session at Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

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Rahane played 134 deliveries for 45 against Baroda and needed 122 balls to make 49 against Odisha.

“40-50 (runs) also matter a lot for a team. In the last game for us in Mumbai, at one point it was really crucial,” saidRahane, who played only two of his first 20 Tests in India, scoring centuries in Wellington, Lord’s and Melbourne and making 96 in Durban and 98 in Fatullah in that time. Six of Rahane’s nine Test centuries have come outside India.

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If his batting in the nets on Monday was any indication,Rahane seems to be fine-tuning the reverse sweep against a team that has left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

“It is important to evolve. I always think that if I improve one shot in the net session, I will be better off in the game. If the opportunity comes and I am 100% confident of playing a particular shot, I will. So, I am just practicing reverse sweeps, sweeps and paddle sweeps as options. I am comfortable playing the reverse sweep now,” he said.

READ | Sri Lanka cricket team unlikely to break Test duck in India

That India swept Sri Lanka away would have no bearing on this series, said Rahane. “If we want to be the No 1 team, every series becomes important. We want to win each and every match and each and every series….

“The first Test (beginning at Eden Gardens on Thursday) is important to get the momentum. We respect Sri Lanka but we want to think about our game rather than thinking about their combination, strengths or strategies,” said the batsman who has played only one Test at Eden.

That was against New Zealand last year and Rahane made 77 and one. India won the Test by 178 runs.

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 18:51 IST