New Delhi: On a high after leading India to a big total in the first innings of the fourth Test against South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane asserted it was a special feeling to score a century on a ground where he had made his debut.
Coming in to bat with the hosts in deep trouble, Rahane scored his fifth Test century and built crucial partnerships with skipper Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
India scored 334 runs in their first innings thanks in principal to Rahane before bowling out South Africa for 121.
“It is a very special hundred for me because I made my Test debut here against Australia. I had those memories in my mind. So I was pretty determined to bat here,” Rahane told the media after the end of the second day’s play at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Friday.
“I am happy with the partnerships I got with Ashwin, Virat (Kohli) and (Ravindra) Jadeja that took us to 330.”
Rahane has not been at his best in the earlier matches in the series. But the Mumbai batsman asserted that he was confident of doing well when he walked in with the hosts tottering at 66/3.
“I knew that I was batting really well in this series but it was important to spend time in the middle and look for a big innings later on.
“In the first two Test matches, I was looking to play shots initially and that’s why I got out. I knew I was batting well. I spoke to Sanjay Bangar and Ravi bhai (Ravi Shastri). They told me to take my time and play one ball at a time. If you are 25 to 30, your instincts will take over,” the 27-year-old said.
“There was nothing wrong technically or mentally. I was just playing shots close to my body. I was slightly hurrying as I was trying to play my shots straightaway. Here I just wanted to take my own time and play as close to my body as possible, wait for loose balls. Patience was key over here. Determination and patience helped me in this innings,” he added.
The quality of the pitches has attracted plenty of criticism in this series. The first and third Tests were wrapped in three days with the playing surfaces offering a lot of turn and unpredictable bounce right from the opening day.
But Rahane felt that the wicket at the Kotla is in excellent condition and the Indian bowlers should be given credit for bundling out the South African batsmen for a low total.
“Our bowlers very well, there is nothing odd in the wicket. We should give credit to our bowlers, especially to Umesh (Yadav) and Ishant (Sharma). Their spells were pretty crucial. We never worry about the condition of the wicket. We played very well as a team,” he asserted.
“Our bowlers showed good discipline and patience. It is important to bowl in the right areas and have patience. But as a batsman I felt that spending time in the middle and taking my time is important. I then looked to play my shots,” he added.
“So it is not easy for shot making but it is not too difficult as well.”
Rahane also praised the Indian lower-order for coming good with the bat in this series.
“it is a good sign when you that your lower order is batting. I think partnerships are really crucial. If the lower order is batting well, the morale of the opposing team obviously goes down. So my partnership with Ashwin was really crucial,” he remarked.