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Love batting in seaming conditions: Rahane

The Lord’s centurion says he relishes pitches with bounce, pace and swing

July 17, 2014. Ajinkya Rahane will remember this day for the rest of his life. On this day, he became only the second Indian to score a century in his first innings at the Lord’s. The first was Sourav Ganguly.

What made Rahane’s 103 all the more special is that it helped India get out of jail on a wicket as green as the outfield. Thanks to him and his 90-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, from 145 for 7, the visitors finished the first day of the Lord’s Test with 290 for 9.

Rahane said he had prepared himself mentally overnight to not get overwhelmed by the occasion of playing his first Test at the iconic venue.

“I was actually a bit nervous last night because I’ve heard so many people say that a century at Lord’s is supposed to be a very special achievement,” he admitted. “These thoughts are there somewhere in your head but today I decided that I will not think about all that and just play the ball on its merit. It worked.”

Rahane has defied the perception of Indian batsmen being vulnerable in overseas conditions. His top five Test scores have come in New Zealand, England and South Africa. He said he feels at home in such conditions having grown up playing cricket on Wankhede Stadium’s pace friendly pitch.

“I am actually comfortable batting in overseas conditions. I have played most my cricket on the Wankhede Stadium wicket, which has good bounce and pace and the ball does swing around. So, I enjoy batting on such wickets.” He said.

Rahane looked at ease against the swinging ball, even as wickets fell before and around him. However, the No. 5 credited the batsmen who came ahead of him for playing out the morning session.

“It’s a great feeling to get a hundred here but I’ll give credit to our top-order batsmen – Vijay, Shikhar, Pujara and Virat. They batted out the crucial part of the day which made things easy for Bhuvi and me later.”

Speaking of his eighth wicket partnership with Bhuvi – who got two fifties in the first Test – Rahane praised his lower-order batting partner for his confidence and batting acumen.

“Bhuvi is batting so well. Standing at the non-striker’s end I was learning a lot about his batting,” he said. “When he came in to bat, I asked him if he was okay with us taking a single. He said he was perfectly okay. He’s such a confident guy now and is batting so well. So, I completely trusted him as well as Shami. He too batted well.”

Being a natural top-order batsman, batting with the tailenders is a skill that Rahane has had to develop batting at No. 5 or 6 for India. He said he is learning the art watching and talking to the people who have done so successfully.

“I learned much about batting with the tail during the Durban Test when I got 51* and 96. When I got out on 96 I was thinking about my hundred and went for it. Now I realize that when batting with tailenders, you’ve got to have faith in them. That’s what I did in Wellington and also today.

“It’s challenging batting with tailenders. I’ve been watching Mike Hussey’s videos and learning how he batted with the tailenders. I have learnt a lot speaking with our players as well. Virat batted with tailenders in Australia, Dhoni bhai has been doing that regularly too. I’ve been talking to them and it has really helped me with regards to this aspect of my batting,” he said.

With one wicket to go before England bat on this wicket, Rahane hoped the last pair of Ishant and Shami add a few quick runs before coming on to bowl. He wished the Indian bowlers would learn from the mistakes of their English counterparts, who erred on the shorter side in the first and the last session.

“In the first session they bowled a little short but came with a different plan in the second session and bowled a fuller length. In the final session again Plunkett was trying to bowl short. I think shorter length balls are going to be a bit easier to play on this wicket than the fuller ones.

“I’m sure our bowlers will learn from this and bowl a fuller length. I’m sure Ishant and Shami will get us 25-30 quick runs and it’s not going to be easy for the England batsmen to bat on this wicket against them.”

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Stats Highlights: England vs India, 2nd Test - Day 1

Rahane’s 103 is now the highest score by an Indian on the opening day of a Lord’s Test

After winning toss in six consecutive Tests, MS Dhoni’s luck finally ran out with flip of the coin. His streak of six toss-wins still equals the Indian record though. The details:

Most consecutive toss wins by Indian captains

Tests

Captain

Period

Won

Lost

Drawn

6

Nariman Contractor

Dec 1961- Mar 1962

2

2

2

6

Mohammad Azharuddin

Oct 1995- Mar 1998

1

1

4

6

MS Dhoni

Nov 2013-Jul 2014

1

2

3

Alastair Cook is playing his 104th consecutive Test. He has not missed a single Test for England since May 2006. Only three players have had a longer streak of consecutive Tests than Cook- Allan Border (153), Mark Waugh (107) and Sunil Gavaskar (106).

James Anderson’s wicket of Shikhar Dhawan made him the leading wicket-taker in all Tests in England, moving ahead of Fred Trueman’s tally of 229 wickets.

Anderson- with the wicket of Virat Kohli- became England's leading Test wicket-taker against India, surpassing Derek Underwood and Bob Willis, who had taken 62 wickets apiece against India.

Kohli’s wicket also made Anderson the highest wicket-taker in Tests at Lord’s. This was his 70th wicket at Lord’s, one more than Ian Botham.

Stuart Broad completed his 250 wickets in Test cricket when he had MS Dhoni caught by Matt Prior. He became eighth England bowler and 38th overall to accomplish this feat.

Broad also completed the allround double of 2000 runs and 250 wickets, becoming the second England player after Ian Botham and 13th overall to do so.

At 28 years 23 days Broad is the third youngest player to complete the allround double of 2000 runs and 250 wickets after Kapil Dev and Ian Botham.

Bhvneshwar Kumar (36) missed the opportunity of becoming the first number 9 batsman to score three consecutive fifties. He had made 58 and 63* at Trent Bridge.

Ajinkya Rahane (103) became only the second Indian batsman to score a hundred in his first innings at Lord’s. Sourav Ganguly (131 in 1996) is the only other to do so (Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Agarkar scored hundreds in second innings of their first Tests at Lord’s).

Rahane’s 103 are now the most scored by an Indian batsman on the opening day of a Lord’s Test. Nariman Contractor had made 81 in 1959.

The 90 run-partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India’s best for eighth wicket at Lord’s. The pair obliterated the previous record stand of 74 runs between Lall Singh and Amar Singh way back in 1932.

ndia ended the day one at 290 for nine. It is for the first time in a Lord’s Test that India managed to survive on the opening day. In all previous six instances India were bowled out.