After scoring his seventh Test century, Ajinkya Rahane revealed that he was not really thinking about the century while on the field with the tail-enders. The batsman said they were not thinking about the weather either after India scored at a slow pace even as rain threatens to shorten the game.
Rahane had Wriddhiman Saha for company at the start of the day, but the wicketkeeper-batsman departed for 47 leaving the partnership two runs short of a hundred. Joined in the middle by Amit Mishra, Rahane was inching forward, but rain swallowed close to an hour of play post-lunch. When they did return, Roston Chase took out Mishra and Mohammad Shami in consecutive deliveries. But, the batsman took up the load and reached his century with Umesh Yadav for company. The hundred came off a lucky edge but that should not take much away from Rahane's innings.
"Frankly speaking, I was not thinking about my hundred," Rahane said at the press-conference. "When Mishra and Shami got out, I told Umesh to play normal cricket. Just give your 100% whether defending or playing a shot. When I was 84-85, I wanted to play normal cricket, but the offie brought his long-off in and I wanted to clear the fielder. When I was on 95, [I told Umesh] just play normal cricket, and once I get my hundred, we'll play some shots."
Rahane also said that the pitch favored the quicks and cautioned the Indian bowlers to stick to the basics when they take the field tomorrow.
"There is something for the fast bowlers, but it's important for us to bowl a decent line and length tomorrow. "We have to bowl patiently. In the first Test match, we bowled in good areas and we bowled consistently. If we do that, we will be in a good position tomorrow.
India were under some criticism for the slow pace of scoring. While the second day had seen Pujara set up shop in the middle for well over a hundred balls, it was Rahane and co today who scored, albeit, at a slow pace. The decision came under further fire after rain spoiled hours of play and as a tropical storm threatens to wash out significant parts of the next two days.
"We were not thinking about the weather," Rahane said in the press conference. "Initially, in the morning, we wanted to play normal cricket. Unfortunately, Wriddhiman [Saha] got out just before lunch. That partnership was really important for us. The plan was to bat once and bat long, and I think we did that. There's still some help for the fast bowlers in the wicket, and I thought Holder bowled a very good spell before lunch. He bowled pretty well. After lunch, the plan was to play positive and try and get a 300-plus lead. Unfortunately, the rain came in, that's not something we can control."
Rahane also said that India still have enough time to bring the match to a positive result.
"On the islands, it rains, but clears quickly also," he said. "You can't be thinking about the weather and playing. The important thing was how much of a lead we could get and how quickly we can get it. We wanted to play normal cricket till lunch, and then, if we played positively, our lead would have grown. Anyway, there is plenty of time left in the Test match."
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