This ton will give me great confidence: Ajinkya Rahane
COLOMBO: If there was a vote for the ‘Man Friday’ in the Indian team, Ajinkya Rahane will win it hands down. Whatever the conditions, whatever the situation or whatever the demands, Rahane has almost always managed to come up with the goods.
Not often does a cricketer play 16 out of his first 17 Tests out of his own country and to average 46.24 over this period is no mean feat. Rahane now has a century each in Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka – the last of which has set India on course to a possible series-levelling win.
“This hundred will give me great confidence because conditions were pretty challenging. It was hot out there and it was very challenging to focus at the moment. I was batting on 82 at lunch time and after the break my plan was to just take singles and go to other end. It was hot out there and I wanted to play a long innings because in cricket one wicket and anything can happen,” Rahane said after his first century in the sub-continent. Not only was Rahane batting in difficult conditions but also in an alien position -the Mumbai batsman was informed of his elevation to No. 3 just a day before the second Test and failed to get going in the first innings, lasting just 11 deliveries.
“When I got out in the first innings I was very hurt. I worked with batting coach Sanjay Bangar, doing some throw downs. So the coach’s hard work and Ravi (Shastri) bhai’s inputs really helped me in the second innings.My aim was to play as close to my body as possible and just build my innings,” the 27-year-old, who bats at No. 3 for Mumbai, said.
Talking about his new batting position, Rahane said, “I like to stay in the present all the time. This is my first game where I have batted at No. 3 so I would like to take it step by step, match by match. Every Test hundred is very special for me but this is the first coming at number three.”
Thanks to Rahane’s century and Murali Vijay’s efforts, India set a formidable target of 413 and Sri Lanka will need to score 340 on the final day with eight wickets remaining. “The match is poised pretty well. Tomorrow we have to take it one wicket at a time. We just need to be patient, that will be key, because the wicket is getting slower and slower. There will be good partnerships but one good session for us and we can win,” he said.