India vs West Indies 2019: Ajinkya Rahane’s tenth Test hundred ‘really special’ and ’emotional’
Ajinkya Rahane soaks in the feeling of a Test century after two years. © AFP

Ajinkya Rahane has termed his tenth Test century against West Indies during the first Test match in Antigua, which came two years after his previous one, as “emotional” and “really special”.

Having gone 28 Test innings without a century, Rahane played two match-winning knocks during the first Test – 81 and 102 – to help India clinch a record 318-run win for an unassailable 1-0 lead in the series.

From the start of 2018 until the start of the Antigua Test, Rahane averaged 30.09 from 22 Test innings. In this time he had managed to score five half-centuries, and was dismissed in the eighties twice. Seven times he was out between 10 and 20, and a further five times for 10 or less.

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Thus, to reach three figures was a very special moment for Rahane.

“I was a little bit emotional,” he told reporters on Thursday before the second Test match at Sabina Park. “I thought the tenth hundred was really special. I wasn’t thinking about any particular celebration, it came out automatically. It took me two years to get that hundred. As I said, the process always matters to me a lot. Preparations before each and every series are very important. I was actually doing that throughout the two years, and so [this hundred] was really special.”

(READ: I can’t control criticism, try not to get affected by it: Ajinkya Rahane)

During India’s first innings, Rahane scored a dogged 81 to help them recover from 25 for 3 which gave him satisfaction.

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Ajinkya Rahane during his 102 in India’s second innings at Antigua. © AFP

“We were under pressure,” he said. “I thought West Indies bowled really well in that session, throughout that day. It was an opportunity for me to do something special for my team. I think because of the situation I wasn’t thinking about myself because it was important to get that partnership going – one player has to stay and bat and we knew that. I thought it was something special for me personally as well because we knew we were in a difficult position at that point of time and happily we did really well and came back strongly from that point.”

In India’s second innings, Rahane put on 106 with Virat Kohli to set up a declaration at 343/7.

“I knew that partnership with Virat was very crucial. And basically, because of that team thinking, the pressure was completely off. And really special getting that hundred after two years,” he said.

(READ: Buoyant India eye another series win over West Indies)

After his match-winning innings at North Sound, Rahane credited his time playing county cricket for Hampshire as helpful in his resurgence. Though he managed 307 runs in 13 innings, going from a century on debut to scoring three ducks during a lean phase – including two in one match – Rahane felt that his time with Hampshire was beneficial.

Rahane’s personal coach Pravin Amre hailed the 31-year-old’s skill and determination after the Antigua Test.

The second Test starts today at Sabina Park in Kingston.