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By Chetan Narula
London: Jul 17, 2014
Delighted to be on the Lord’s roll-of-honour after a gritty hundred on the opening day of the second Test, Ajinkya Rahane revealed that he was a little nervous before his first Test at this celebrated ground. The batsman though did calm down on the morning of the match, and that was enough to make him register his second Test ton in his seventh match — both the tons coming in overseas conditions.
“Every hundred is special, be it at Wellington or at Lord’s,” said Rahane, referring to his maiden Test ton scored versus New Zealand earlier this year. “But yes this is special because I have done this at Lord’s. I was a little nervous last night because this is my first match at this ground. But I calmed down in the morning realising that all I need to do was bat patiently until I face 25-30 deliveries and then see how it will go,” he said.
India, who ended Day 1 on 290 for nine, were invited to bat first on a green-top wicket by Alastair Cook, and they collapsed to 140/6 by tea-time only to be rescued by Rahane’s innings of 103. He was helped by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scored 36, and put up 90 runs for the 8th wicket — the highest of the innings for India.
“I was telling myself to play as close to the body as possible. After 25-35 runs, I started taking my chances. It was challenging and a completely different wicket. I had a good partnership with Bhuvneshwar. When he first came in to bat, I asked him if he was okay with me taking singles early in the over. And he said he was confident, so I trusted him,” said Rahane. “I also want to thank the top-order — [Murali] Vijay , [Cheteshwar] Pujara and [Virat] Kohli — they played through a crucial phase in tough conditions against the new ball, and watching them bat, I gained confidence,” he added.
When asked if he has now gained expertise in batting with the tail, the century-maker replied, “I have been watching videos of Michael Hussey who used to bat a lot with tail-enders. I have learnt from Virat who in Australia batted with the tail. Dhoni bhai too has batted a lot with the tail so I am learning from them.”
England had a mixed day in the field as they bowled well through the day only to let it slip in the last session. The hosts took 4 wickets for 67 runs in the middle session, but bowled too short in the post-tea session. When asked if their poor bowling helped him score, Rahane replied, “This wicket is different from the Trent Bridge pitch. Till the end the ball was doing something and it was good to get this hundred on this pitch. This wicket will suit our bowlers as well.”
India have their last pair at the crease in Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. Although 290 is a decent recovery they will be hoping for an encore from their last pair given how the series has been so far for tail enders. “Ishant and Shami can add atleast 25-30 runs hopefully and then it is going to be difficult for the England batsmen as well. This is not an easy pitch,” he said.
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