After India ended day 1 of the Eden Test on a low, Ajinkya Rahane conceded that himself and fellow half-centurion Cheteshwar Pujara were guilty of frittering away the edge after having settled down nicely. He, however, also noted that batting was a challenge as it was “not a typical” Eden wicket.
After having chosen to bat first, India were in a spot of bother at 47/3 before lunch. However, Rahane put on a 141-run stand with Pujara – Rahane scored 77 while Pujara scored 87 – but the two fell in a space of 13 runs as India collapsed from 187/3 to 200/6.
Admitting that he and Pujara were guilty of failing to build on the set partnership, Rahane also said batting was a challenge on the 'two-paced' wicket. “It was not a typical Kolkata wicket. There was something in the wicket. It's two-paced. It was tough, very humid in the second session. It was not a good day for us. We felt the wicket will be very good. Generally it's flat and good for batting. There was something for fast bowlers,” Rahane said.
“We had a few soft dismissals but the partnership between me and Pujara was crucial. Me and Pujara will take the blame as we both were set. It was our responsibility to carry the partnership forward.
"A batsman just needs one ball to get out. But if we could have scored a century (each), our position would have been different. I am not blaming anyone else. Maybe it was our responsibility," he said.
India ended day one at 239 for seven. Rahane rued the loss of their wickets in the team's context and said he was not concerned about missing the opportunity of scoring a century. “You don't think about scoring a hundred. You play according to the situation. Maybe we lost our concentration. We lost two extra wickets. Five wickets would have been ideal,” he said.
"Defence is always important on a turning track. No one will get you out if your defence is solid, that's why we batted so strongly in the post-lunch session. But in the third session we felt this was the only opportunity where we can score freely as the ball was old and the bowlers were all tired."
We tried to step up our run-rate and played with a lot of intent, not necessarily to score just boundaries. We tried to disturb their line and length. It was easy to play the spinners on the backfoot.
"Jadeja and Saha are batting. If they get to 325 or 350 tomorrow, it will be a good total on the first innings here."
The batsman also credited the Kiwi bowling line-up for their performance on the day – the New Zealand pacers utilized the bounce on the wicket to wipe out the Indian top-order while Virat Kohli appeared to have been set up beautifully by Trent Boult. The spinners, then, took over and dismantled the middle order after the Rahane-Pujara show.
"Jeetan Patel bowled consistently and was quicker in the air. However, fast bowlers Matt Henry and Neil Wagner also bowled well and did not give away easy runs. The credit goes to them as well. It was hot and humid there. They bowled consistently. Patel is good in their line-up. We have to bowl really well here. It's not easy for the batsmen. We have to bowl tight line and lengths," he said.
Ravi Rampaul or Shane Shillingford? Who will take more wickets?
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