Steady 'Jinx' short of runs and rhythm

Updated: Nov 21, 2016, 13:10 IST | Shishir Hattangadi

Ajinkya Rahane's poor shot selection in Visakhapatnam reveals a tentative mindset, an aspect that one doesn't associate the India vice-captain with


India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane slugs it out during Day One of the Visakhapatnam Test against England on Thursday. Pic/PTI 

England managed to get themselves into the crucible at the end of Day Two yesterday. Winning the toss and making first use of a pitch that will be unreliable as the game goes on, India have managed to put themselves in an impregnable situation.

Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli have shown why the Indian team and their fans expect so much out of them. Both these batsmen now have 10 and 14 Test hundreds respectively and are proving to be the backbone of the Indian batting. Losing Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, who is coming back from injury, early didn’t deter Pujara and Kohli from playing positive cricket.

Ajinkya Rahane looks out of rhythm at the moment, not so much for his form, but poor shot selection. The soft dismissal to James Anderson at the fag end of Day One revealed his tentative mindset, a quality that one doesn’t generally associate with his style of batting. Jayant Yadav has impressed on debut with a handy innings, which was indicative of his steely temperament. An athletic piece of fielding by Jayant, which created a doubt in the running between wickets of Haseeb Hameed and Joe Root, resulted in a run out at a crucial juncture. He also looks to be a handy third spinner. In short, he has showcased all his skills to suggest that he belongs here. His debut, as of now, doesn’t look sensational but has showed enough talent and temperament, which is a very good sign.

R Ashwin has now developed into a perfect all-rounder. His failures as a batsman in future may surprise us. That is what we have come to expect from him, runs as a batsman and wickets as a bowler.

A score of 455 on a pitch that may not last the distance looks more than respectable. Especially after Mohammad Shami cleaned up captain Alastair Cook early. It was a classical fast bowler’s dismissal of a great opening batsman, and I am sure this photograph will find a special place in Shami’s house years after he calls it a day.

Root has shown why he is a class player. Time in the middle, are runs in the middle for Root. His dismissal to an uncharacteristic shot was indicative of the uncertainty in the batsman’s mind on a pitch like this.

India have put pressure on England putting up a healthy score. The pitch, I might add, doesn’t look like it will survive a five-day wear and tear. And all the Indian spinners need to do in such a scenario is, be patient.

India look like they have pushed England to the brink in this Test match.

To crawl out of this one, England would require a Herculean batting effort, a below par performance by India on the field and with the ball and lady luck should smile at them.

I am not sure Test cricket offers so many luxuries.

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