Will be ‘gold’ if Pujara, Rahane can add 100 more, says Rahul
Bengaluru, March 6 (IANS) India’s opening batsman Lokesh Rahul, who rescued the hosts with another half century in the second innings on Monday, hoped the undefeated duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to add another 100 runs when they come out to bat on the fourth morning of the second cricket Test against Australia.
The 24-year-old local boy, who emerged the lone warrior for India in the first innings, scoring 90, once again displayed great determination under pressure, to make a gritty 85-ball 51 in the second essay when the hosts lost three quick wickets for a meagre 120 on the board.
After Rahul’s dismissal, middle order batsmen Pujara (79 not out) and Rahane (40 not out) bailed India out with a 93-run undefeated fifth wicket stand as the hosts ended the third day’s play at 213/4.
With India taking a sizeable 126-run lead, Rahul hoped that the overnight duo continue on when they come out to bat on Tuesday morning.
“We went in with very clear intent to use our feet and rotate strike. That’s the only way we could put pressure back, because the fielders were back on the boundaries. Hopefully Rahane and Pujara can continue and get us a 100 more runs, that’ll be gold,” he said after the third day’s play.
“It’s been really disappointing, getting start and not converting them, especially when the team needed me to stay out and get big runs. Tried to build from strength to strength and hopefully I can build on it moving forward too,” he added.
Rahul said the wicket has eased out for batting in the second innings, but also cautioned that the ball will tend to keep a bit low on the fourth and fifth days.
“Not much adjustment. It was a little easier than the first innings, when the pitch was damp and that’s why it bounced a bit more. I’ve played a lot of cricket here, it’s my home and I know the third day is the best to bat,” he said.
“On the fourth day, a few will keep down and a few will bounce up. So now we are really happy we got off to a good start and got good partnerships,” Rahul added.
Batting coach Sanjay Bangar also felt that the home side must bat really well in the next two sessions of the fourth day if they want to set the Kangaroos a stiff target.
“The match hangs very much in balance, we need to bat really well in the next two sessions. We fought really well over the last two days, what lies ahead could be exhilarating stuff, he said.