HomeArticlesCricket'Scoring hundred here is special' - Rahane

‘Scoring hundred here is special’ – Rahane

All through Monday, weather experts in lands surrounding the Caribbean Sea tracked a low-pressure trough moving westwards across the Atlantic, anxious to see if it would develop into a tropical cyclone, with a wind speed ranging from 63kph to 119kph. If it met those conditions, they could officially call it a tropical storm. They already had a name ready for it – Earl.

All through Monday, even as blue skies gave way to grey over Sabina Park, the occupants of India’s dressing room were not worried about the weather. There was no point worrying, because it was not in their control.

Eventually, 43 overs of day three were lost to rain, and more showers are expected on days four and five of the Test match. Nonetheless, Ajinkya Rahane, who scored an unbeaten 108 to lift India to a declaration with a lead of 304, believed there was still more than enough time left for his team to force a win. India only made 142 runs in the 46.1 overs played on day three, and Rahane credited West Indies’ bowlers for keeping India’s scoring rate down, particularly their captain Jason Holder, who bowled a spell of 11 overs spread across the first two sessions, nine of them before lunch.

“We were not thinking about the weather,” Rahane said. “Initially, in the morning, we wanted to play normal cricket. Unfortunately, Wriddhiman [Saha] got out just before lunch. That partnership was really important for us. The plan was to bat once and bat long, and I think we did that. There’s still some help for the fast bowlers in the wicket, and I thought Holder bowled a very good spell before lunch. He bowled pretty well. After lunch, the plan was to play positive and try and get a 300-plus lead. Unfortunately, the rain came in, that’s not something we can control.”

Later, asked the same question in Hindi, Rahane said the timing of Saha’s dismissal might have prevented India from accelerating immediately after lunch.

“On the islands, it rains, but clears quickly also,” he said. “You can’t be thinking about the weather and playing. The important thing was how much of a lead we could get and how quickly we can get it. We wanted to play normal cricket till lunch, and then, if we played positively, our lead would have grown. Anyway, there is plenty of time left in the Test match.”

India lost two quick wickets – of Amit Mishra and Mohammed Shami – after the day’s first rain interruption, which lasted 52 minutes. Between resumption and India’s declaration, Rahane moved to his seventh Test century. He had a hundred in the West Indies to go with tons in New Zealand, England, Australia, Sri Lanka and India, and 90-plus scores in South Africa and Bangladesh.

Rahane seemed to quieten in the 80s, and for a time, farmed the strike, with No. 10 Umesh Yadav at the other end, before soaring into the 90s with an inside-out six off the offspinner Roston Chase.

“Frankly speaking, I was not thinking about my hundred,” Rahane said. “When Mishra and Shami got out, I told Umesh to play normal cricket. Just give your 100% whether defending or playing a shot. When I was 84-85, I wanted to play normal cricket, but the offie brought his long-off in and I wanted to clear the fielder. When I was on 95, [I told Umesh] just play normal cricket, and once I get my hundred, we’ll play some shots.”

Despite the help still available from the pitch, Rahane said India’s bowlers would need to be patient to bowl West Indies out in the second innings.

“There is something for the fast bowlers, but it’s important for us to bowl a decent line and length tomorrow,” he said. “We have to bowl patiently. In the first Test match, we bowled in good areas and we bowled consistently. If we do that, we will be in a good position tomorrow.”

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