Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Ajinkya Rahane credits decisive footwork for his impeccable innings
What’s the story?
The Indian team have already established their dominance in the ongoing second Test at SSC Colombo. The Men in Blue posted a mammoth total of 622/9d in the first innings courtesy incredible knocks from Ajinkya Rahane (132) and Cheteshwar Pujara (133).
Batting on a turning track against the hosts was going to be a challenge and the Virat Kohli led side got their noses in front when it truly mattered.
A lynchpin in the batting line-up, Rahane has credited the impeccable knock to ‘good use of the feet’ against Herath, Sri Lanka's primary threat.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, the 29-year-old batsman revealed, "Especially on this kind of wicket, it is very slow and dry, so we knew that if we use our footwork we will get more runs on the back foot. So when I went in to bat with Pujara, we decided to change our momentum because Virat got out and we wanted to put pressure back on them and that's what we did. So we knew using footwork we would get more runs on the front foot as well as the back foot.”
"It was all about mindset coming into this game, we knew that they will give us a spin track and I think after day one we knew that the ball will... I mean it's not going to be easy for batsmen. I was visualising even in the dressing room and also in my room, just thinking about what are the important, good shots on this wicket and how I am going to dominate their spinners. It was one of the best innings against spinners," he added.
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Rahane, who has been consistent with the willow in recent times, has struggled against spinners. During the home series earlier in the year, Rahane fell to slow bowlers 11 times.
The heart of the matter
The SSC Test centurion registered his first three figure knock after 17 innings. Despite the drought, Rahane was confident that a big score was around the corner and he called his knock at SSC one of his best innings against spinners.
Despite being adept against pace in most conditions, the dynamic batsman has looked vulnerable against spin in the past.
As a No. 5 batter, he often comes in at a time when the ball has begun to turn and reverse. This was the case in the Colombo Test as well, as India had lost two quick wickets, and were 133 for 3 with the ball taking some turn. Rahane though came out and looked composed throughout his innings.
Following the culmination of the ongoing Test, the two sides will play one more Test, at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Balagolla. They will then feature in a five-match ODI series and a solitary T20I before India fly back home for the Australia series.
Rahane is one of the best examples of a truly versatile batsman. He will have an important role to play when Team India head overseas to play in England, South Africa, and Australia. The pitches there are not so batting-friendly and only a top-class batsman who has the required tenacity and technique will succeed.
With regards to his struggles against spin, this knock will surely give him the confidence he needs to overcome his shortcomings.