Pujara, Rahane are fabulous players and hungry to score, says KL Rahul

IND vs ENG, 2nd Test: India opener KL Rahul said the visiting side needs to start well come day three before setting sights on a win against England in the second Test at Lord's.

Rahul said India will need to stick to its plans on day three and pick early wickets before moving for the win at Lord's.   -  Action Images via Reuters

India opener KL Rahul said the visiting side needs to start well come day three before setting sights on a win against England in the second Test at Lord's.

India was rocked early during the day as K. L. Rahul (129, 250b, 12x4, 1x6) fell to Ollie Robinson in the first over, driving a delivery straight to cover on the full, and moments later, James Anderson dismissed Ajinkya Rahane first ball. Rishabh Pant (37, 58b, 5x4) and Ravindra Jadeja (40, 120b, 3x4) showed some resistance with the bat, but the others fell cheaply, as India folded for 364. 

Rahul said he was frustrated by his early dismissal. "This morning was crucial for us, and I was planning to add 70-80 runs in the morning session. I looked up to myself well last night after being set on 127. So it was frustrating to get out the way I did."

READ:  ENG vs IND, 2nd Test, Day 2: England hits back after Anderson takes five to restrict India to 364

"It's too early to predict (a win). We want to go out there tomorrow [Saturday] and try and get a couple of wickets and put pressure on their batsmen. We need to be disciplined and keep working on our plans. We have plans for every batsman," said Rahul.

'Not shielding other batters'

The 29-year-old, who has scored a fifty and a hundred in the last three innings, left well outside the off-stump - a stark contrast to the approach of the struggling Indian middle-order comprising Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.

Since January 2020, Pujara has registered 552 runs in 13 matches at an average of 25.09, while Rahane has 541 runs in 13 matches at 25.76. Meanwhile, captain Kohli has managed 387 runs in 10 matches at 24.18. 

HIGHLIGHTS - ENG v IND, 2ND TEST, DAY 2

Rahul came to the defence of Pujara and Rahane. "Pujara and Ajinkya are fabulous players and have done the job whenever the team was in trouble. I'm sure they are hungry to go out there and score. I'm sure they know how to come out of an innings where they haven't scored runs. You need to realise that we're playing in tough conditions in England and know that we'll keep getting good balls, and it's not easy to score every time. Once you get a start, you make it count," Rahul said. 

He also dismissed suggestions that he was shielding Kohli from James Anderson on day one of the Test. "Don't think I shielded Kohli or need to do it for any of our top-order batsmen. The chat was obviously on commentary, but nothing of that sort happened. He (Kohli) loves a challenge, be it Anderson or anybody. He wants to be in the midst of it and isn't someone who will shy away from a challenge," Rahul added.

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