Ton-up Ajinkya Rahane says he has learnt from the mistakes he made in the previous two Tests; reveals he took his time and waited for loose balls at Kotla
New Delhi: Back in 2013, Ajinkya Rahane had a tough initiation into Test cricket at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Playing against Australia, he only managed eight runs across the two innings.
He survived a leg-before appeal off the first ball he faced and was hit on the helmet off the next. More than two years down the line, he made it count at Delhi with a century that may have helped setup a 3-0 series win over South Africa.
'A special ton'
"Yes, it is a very special hundred for me because I made my debut in Delhi against Australia. I had few things in my mind — those memories against Australia," Rahane said.
After his debut, Rahane played all his Tests overseas before donning the whites again on home soil in this series. While he found success in alien conditions, the homecoming wasn't the easiest.
Sanjay Bangar, India's batting coach, had praised Rahane at the end of Day One by saying that he had shown more patience at Delhi. "I was slightly hurrying (into shots at Mohali and Nagpur) as I was trying to play shots straightaway. Here, I just wanted to take time and play as close to my body — wait for loose balls. Patience was (the) key. Determination and patience helped me in this innings," Rahane said.
Rahane is no stranger to a tough situation. At Lord's in 2014, India were 145 for seven in the first innings before his century helped them bounce back. More importantly, India went on to win that Test. "When we were 139 for six, I was recollecting those memories, as even at Lord’s (where) we were 145 for 7 — same situation. I was just thinking to communicate with other batsmen and back my instincts," Rahane said.
The Mumbai man put on 98 runs with Ravichandran Ashwin for the eighth wicket.
"When Ashwin came in, I just told him that if the ball is there to be hit, I will go after (it) and back my instincts," Rahane said. The strategy worked well through their stand as Rahane played some good shots, lofting a few over the top.
Rahane added: "Shot making was not easy but once you are set, you decide that you are not going to get out. It was difficult for bowlers to get batsman out."
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