After a sub-par showing on the opening day of the second Test at Eden Gardens, India find themselves in a spot of bother and require a substantial effort in order to wrest back the initiative from the Kiwis. However, Ajinkya Rahane believes that a total around the 325-330 range should be quite handy on what he went on to describe as a ‘two-paced’ surface.
Speaking to reporters at the post-day press conference, the 28-year old rued the hosts’ poor shot-making whilst reiterating his faith in Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha to bail them out of this situation.
Rahane admitted, “I think we had a few soft dismissals. We played some bad shots and got out, it happens in cricket. We'll have to learn quickly and move forward again. The partnership between me and Pujara was crucial for us. 240-250 for four or five would have been good for us, but I think we've lost two extra wickets.
“Nevertheless, it's not a typical Kolkata wicket. There is something in the wicket and it's two-paced as well. But yes overall, not a good day for us so far.”
Upon winning an important toss, the hosts saw their top-order struggle to counter the residual moisture on the surface and lost wickets in a cluster. From 46/3, Rahane joined hands with Cheteshwar Pujara to resurrect the innings with a 141-run stand. When it seemed like they were on top, a mini-collapse towards the end of the day left them at a risky 239/7.
Unhappy with the flurry of wickets down the order, Rahane felt, “As I said, we played too many shots. But, I think Pujara and myself will take this blame because we were set. He got out on 87 and I got out on 77. I think it was our responsibility to carry that partnership forward.
“See, batsmen just need one ball to get out. But, I think if among the two of us if one had made a hundred, maybe our position would have been different. I can't blame anyone else. But maybe, it was Pujara and my responsibility to take the partnership forward.”
However, he insisted, “But, Jadeja and Saha are batting and if we get 75 to 100 runs tomorrow, 325-330 will be a good total for the first innings here. If we get 325-330 plus here on this kind of wicket, that will be a very good total for the first innings. But, we have to bowl really well here.
“As I mentioned, it's not easy for the batsmen. But again, we'll have to get those wickets quickly initially and bowl tight lines and lengths.“
Having reached 318 from a tricky position of 262/7 in the first Test at Kanpur which eventually proved to be more than handy, India will hope their lower-order can manage another significant contribution to propel their total near the vicinity that Rahane wants.