It needed a half-century partnership between KL Rahul (44) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to steady India. Rahane turned out be the hero of the day, featuring in another significant stand with Hanuma Vihari, who hung on to contribute a crucial 32. Thanks to the two alliances, India will breathe slightly easier as they head into day two.
A Test century, however, again evaded Rahane as the two-year long wait continues. Asked about it at the press conference, the middle-order batsman admitted that he too wants to get to three figures but as of Thursday, he was happy to contribute to the team's cause.
Asked about the long wait for a hundred at the post-day press conference, Rahane smiled and said, “I knew this question was coming and I was ready
“As long as I am at the crease, I am thinking about my team, I am not a selfish guy. So yes, I am not too concerned about the hundred as I thought 81 on that wicket was really crucial as we are now in a decent position,” the experienced batsman, who has the backing of the team management, went on to say.
He further added that hundred will come when he plays well and that he's not a selfish player. His main priority is to contribute to the team's cause.
“See, as long as I am contributing for my team is what matters. Yes, I was thinking about my hundred but the situation we are in — 25 for 3 was tricky. As I have said, I just thought if I could contribute for my team. I am not too concerned about my hundred as that will come automatically,” he explained.
On the stint he had with Hampshire, Rahane added that it was important as he got some crucial batting practice but opined it was too early to gauge how useful the stint has proved. “See it was important. I took the decision when I got to know that I won’t be a part of World Cup squad. I wanted to make use of the two months and I played seven county games, focussing on my batting, working on few areas.
“When you play in England with Dukes ball, you have got play close to your body. I was batting at No 3 as well so luckily I got to play the new ball there. Those two months, I really used my time well but it’s too early to say that county stint helped me. But it’s good that I went there and had some batting practice," Rahane went on to say.
On the Antigua Test, Rahane is of the view that his partnership with Rahul could prove to crucial considering the wicket, which is not easy to bat on. “At the start of our innings, the wicket was tricky. It was a bit sticky and there was sideways movement. Throughout the day, they bowled pretty well.
“What was important was to have a partnership going and still be positive in our intent. The partnership with Rahul was crucial at that situation. We were not thinking too far ahead. The motive was to play one ball at a time and take it on from there,” Rahane said, explaining how the duo battled the tough times.