IND vs WI: Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant put India in a strong position
Vice-captain Rahane (75*) comes good in second Test as Rishabh Pant eyes a hundred at Uppal, Hyderabad too
365 runs in 14 innings over eight Tests at 26.07 this year. This isn't the kind of performance one usually associates with Ajinkya Rahane. The India vice-captain, known for his solidity, hasn't quite used his willow to the best of his potential.
His weakness of nicking an away going delivery was often exploited by the bowlers in South Africa and England. On Saturday, on Day Two of the second Test, the West Indians used the same strategy by tossing the ball at a length and a bit outside off stump, at least in the initial part of his innings, in the hope of Rahane committing a mistake. It wasn't the case though as the Mumbai stalwart remained unbeaten on 75 off 174 balls.
Rishabh Pant raises his bat after reaching 50 on Saturday
Umesh Yadav claims 6-88
Giving him good company was Rishabh Pant on 85, in his typical aggressive fashion as India posted 308-4, trailing by three runs in response to West Indies' 311 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The visitors could add only 16 runs to their overnight score of 295-7 with Umesh Yadav rattling the West Indies by claiming the remaining three wickets, including the dangerous Roston Chase who reached his fourth Test century. Umesh finished with 6-88, his best figures in an innings.
Rahane batted in his typical style - blocking when needed and not missing out on singles. The situation demanded that approach after a scary second session in which the hosts lost three wickets and managed only 93 runs.
Prithvi goes bang-bang
Losing opener Prithvi Shaw, who smashed a 53-ball 70 after getting a reprieve on 45, and Cheteshwar Pujara (10) in the space of nine balls put the match in the balance. But Rahane and skipper Virat Kohli rebuilt the Indian innings with a 60-run fourth wicket stand.
West Indies were provided with another opening to come back in the contest when Kohli (45) was adjudged leg-before despite a review after the delivery just nipped back to trap him on the middle stump.
Rahane and Pant, however, gave Jason Holder's men no chance to make anymore inroads as they scored 135 in the final session. India's assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, who generally works with the batters, was full of praise for the approach Rahane and Pant demonstrated. "We have two set batsmen batting.
It is very heartening to see the way Rishabh and Ajinkya have approached the innings - both have been patient and very disciplined. And obviously, Ajinkya is also due for a big score. The new ball is due and I am sure their bowlers will be fresh and will be operating in tandem. Once we get through the new ball, we have a very capable lower order as well. We will be in a great position if we can bat another two sessions," said Bangar.
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