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Ajinkya Rahane makes statement for India in Colombo Test vs Sri Lanka

Ajinkya Rahane’s fluent century established No.1 ranked Test team India’s dominance after a brief comeback by Sri Lanka on Day 2 in the second Test.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 04, 2017 19:56 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Colombo
Ajinkya Rahane,India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane has been in fine form in Sri Lanka.(Reuters)

It was as if India and Sri Lanka are batting on two different surfaces in the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports club ground. On a wicket where even the lower order batsmen of the visiting side played comfortably, Sri Lanka batsmen were left searching for the ball by R Ashwin and Co.

Ajinkya Rahane put on a masterclass on how to adjust to a dry surface on way to a fine 132 to propel India to 622/9 declared. Right from the moment he came at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket on the total of 133/3, Rahane’s defensive play and shot-making were a treat to watch.

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Planned assault

Explaining how the Indian men went about dismantling the Rangana Herath-led spin attack, the Mumbai batsman said: “When we played here last time, especially after the Galle Test, we decided that footwork against him was very important. Here again in the first Test, Shikhar batted really well, but throughout against him and their spinners, we wanted to use our footwork so we can get more runs on the backfoot. Especially on this kind of wicket, it is very slow and dry, we knew if we use our footwork we will get more runs on the backfoot,” said Rahane at the end of the second day’s play, declaring, “this was one of the best innings against spinners.”

In the two years since their last tour here, Indian players have gained enough experience, and it is showing in their skill and game plan. India were in a spot of bother after losing the top three batsmen. But Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara seized the initiative with a dominating display.

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“When I went in to bat with Pujara, we decided to change our momentum because after Virat got out we wanted to put pressure back on them and that’s what we did,” said Rahane.

Being the No 1 ranked team for a while now, it’s also about making a statement. It’s no more about the results, and like all champion teams they are looking to dominate all the time.

Positive intent

“My focus was to dominate (when I started), we are the No.1 team. We talk about it in dressing room, so despite the situation, we didn’t want to get under pressure. Going to bat, I knew a little bit how the wicket was behaving, and the communication between me and Pujara was such that we hardly played any maiden over. So, we put pressure on them. As day 3 comes, this will be a difficult wicket to bat,” said Rahane, comparing his knock to the attacking hundred in Melbourne in 2014.

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“My mindset was completely blank coming into this innings. I wanted to take my time initially, but later on we thought if we dominate they will be on the back foot straightaway… because the same thinking was in Melbourne in Australia. We wanted to dominate them and that’s what we did.”

For Rahane, the hundred was important as the Mumbai batsman had gone nine Tests and 19 innings without a century since scoring 188 against New Zealand at Indore in October. “It was important but for me, but I was confident. It was all about thinking positive throughout that period, and coming to Sri Lanka, I was batting well in the West Indies as well. I wanted to carry that form forward.”

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 19:52 IST