London: Delighted to be on the Lord's roll-of-honour after a gritty hundred on the opening day of the second Test, Ajinkya Rahane revealed that he was a little nervous before his first Test at this celebrated ground.
View Photos: Standout performances by Indians at Lord's
The batsman, though, said he calmed down on the morning of the match and that helped him register his second Test ton in his seventh match -- both the tons coming in overseas conditions. "Every hundred is special, be it at Wellington or at Lord's," said Rahane, referring to his maiden Test ton that he scored against New Zealand earlier this year. "But yes this is special because I have done this at Lord's.
I was a little nervous last night because this is my first match at this ground. But I calmed down in the morning realising that all I need to do was bat patiently until I face 25-30 deliveries and then see how it will go," he said. Put in to bat on a green-top wicket by England skipper Alastair Cook, India collapsed to 140 for six by tea, only to be rescued by Rahane's 103.
He was able supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scored a valuable 36, besides putting on 90 runs for the eighth wicket. India ended the day on 290 for nine. "I was telling myself to play as close to the body as possible. After 25-35 runs, I started taking my chances.
It was challenging and a completely different wicket. I had a good partnership with Bhuvneshwar. When he first came in to bat, I asked him if he was okay with me taking singles early in the over. And he said he was confident, so I trusted him," said Rahane. "I also want to thank the top-order -- (Murali) Vijay, (Cheteshwar) Pujara and (Virat) Kohli -- they played through a crucial phase in tough conditions against the new ball, and watching them bat, I gained confidence," he added.
Asked if he has now gained expertise in batting with the tail-enders, the century-maker replied, "I have been watching videos of Michael Hussey who used to bat a lot with tail-enders. I have also learnt from Virat, who in Australia batted with the tail. Dhoni bhai too has batted a lot with the tail. So I am learning from them." England had a mixed day yesterday as they bowled well through the day only to let it slip in the last session.
The hosts claimed four wickets for 67 runs in the middle session, but bowled too short in the post-tea session. Asked if their poor bowling helped him score, Rahane said, "This wicket is different from the Trent Bridge pitch. Till the end the ball was doing something and it was good to get this hundred on this pitch. This wicket will suit our bowlers as well." India have their last pair at the crease in Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Although 290 is a decent recovery they will be hoping for an encore from their last pair given how the series has been so far for tail enders. "Ishant and Shami can add at least 25-30 runs hopefully and then it is going to be difficult for the England batsmen as well. This is not an easy pitch," he said.