Today I told myself to get a maiden Test hundred: Ravindra Jadeja
In his 38th Test, Ravindra Jadeja got to a maiden international hundred. @AFP

Friday October 5 will remain special for Ravindra Jadeja for it marked the day he finally got a hundred in Test cricket, coming in his 38th Test after twice getting close. Two years ago at Mohali he got to 90 before holing out to a fielder in the deep and last month, during the fifth Test in England, he made 86 before running out the last man.

One Test later, against a threadbare West Indies attack on a very good batting surface at his home ground, Jadeja reached three figures for the first time in international cricket. His celebrations spoke volumes, and at the end the second day’s play which saw West Indies  in deep trouble at 94/6 in reply to India’s 648/9 declared at Rajkot, the allrounder was an understandably elated man.

“After nine years of international cricket I am scoring a hundred, so it is a special moment,” said Jadeja. “Whenever I reached 70-80 in the past I thought about my hundred, but threw my wicket away. I have made big hundreds in the domestic circuit, so I thought I can get hundreds in the international level too. Today I told myself that I need to reach the mark,” he said. “I was really happy … whenever you get your first Test hundred it gives you a lot of joy.

The 29-year-old came to the crease with India in command at 470/5 after Virat Kohli’s scored 24th Test century and an 84-ball 92 from Rishabh Pant. He put on 64 with Kohli, who fell for 139, and once Devendra Bishoo made inroads into India’s tail, out came the big shots.

Dropped on 78 by a diving Shemron Hetmyer at midwicket, Jadeja moved to 85 with his fourth six and then past his previous best of 90 by single to long-on. A fifth six took him to 97, and three figures came he pushed a single to mid-off.

Having gotten close to a maiden Test century at The Oval in September, in what was his first match of the series, Jadeja knew what was required to push on. That innings of 86 not out in India’s first innings, he said, had given him plenty of confidence.

“In England, Anderson and Broad were swinging the ball, the clouds were there too, and you don’t have anything in your favour, so I just thought about scoring my fifty first,” he said. “I spoke to myself and spurred myself on to keep going on and on, and I feel accomplished about my batting in England. It was actually the first time I was playing in the series.”

Later in September, Jadeja was flown from Delhi to Dubai  to link up with India’s ODI squad playing the Asia Cup, as a replacement for the injured Axar Patel, and in his first ODI game in over a year he picked up four wickets. Success at The Oval, in the Asia Cup and now at Rajkot has put Jadeja in a good space.

“I was playing ODI cricket in the Asia Cup after 15 months, and I needed to make a mark,” he said. “In ODIs, sometimes you bowl well and you don’t get wickets. It was crucial; I got the opportunity and I had to prove myself, for me and not for others. I got my ODI call-up, I got wickets, and I have been enjoying my cricket since then.”