Ajinkya Rahane: 'Acceptance is the key when you play in England'

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has admitted that the visiting batsmen committed mistakes under challenging conditions.

Rahane said that his side’s batting line-up would do well by learning from its counterparts on how to play on these conditions.   -  AP

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has admitted that the visiting batsmen committed mistakes under challenging conditions as his side was bowled out for just 107 runs in the first innings of the rain-affected second Test against England at Lord’s.

The inept technique coupled with the fragile temperament of Indian batting was, thoroughly, exposed as it crumbled to 107 all out against a top quality England seam attack on a rain-hit second day on Friday.

“I don’t think you can get any more challenging conditions than this (in Test cricket), especially with Duke ball in these weather conditions. But, as a batsman, you have to back your ability. It is all about intent out there, of not only scoring runs, but also leaving the ball and defending well. As a batsman, it is always a challenge to come here and play against this kind of attack,” Rahane said.

“You have to accept your mistake. Acceptance is the key, I think, when you play in England. It’s not about getting caught behind, even run out, but you have got to accept your mistake and move on. The quicker we learn from our mistakes, the better for us. I am sure everyone will learn from this innings and there is a long way to go in this match, as well as the series,” he said.

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Pacer James Anderson took 5/20 as only two Indian batsmen crossed the 20-run mark. The Dukes ball swung prodigiously as rain interrupted India’s first innings thrice on day two.

“These were definitely challenging conditions. Anderson did not bowl a short ball. He was just bowling at the same spot — four or five-metre length — and that is really crucial on this wicket. If you are bowling that length, you got to bowl consistently, then as a batsman, you have to leave the ball or back your methods, consistently. It is all about patience on these conditions and trusting your methods and backing your ability,” said the visiting team vice-captain.

“Anderson was really good. He bowled in the right areas. Bowling 13-14 overs for 20 overs and getting five wickets is really good, and that’s why he is a quality bowler.”

India was not helped by the fact that Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for the third time this year, after a horrendous mix-up with skipper Virat Kohli.

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“It definitely hurts as a teammate, and I am sure even Pujara will be upset about his run out. The run out definitely hurt us and the weather after that too. I think we did not get to play for three-four hours, so definitely, as a team, you feel really bad,” said Rahane, who could contribute just 18 from 44 balls.

Rahane, who himself found it tough to contend with Anderson and Chris Woakes, said that his side’s batting line-up would do well by learning from its counterparts on how to play on these conditions.

“You have to conquer every situation. Maybe, we will need to learn from their batting unit how to bat in such conditions, which shots are important, which shots you can play, etc. Many times, in England, you cannot only stay defensive. You need to understand which shots you can play — maybe the cut shot or the late cut. So, the earlier you learn, all that the better it would be for you,” he said.

Asked about his own batting, he said, “Before I got out today, I was thinking about my innings at Lord’s in 2014. I think we had less time to bat out, about 25-30 minutes to bat out this evening. In my head, I only had a thought if we could bat out today, then tomorrow, it could be totally different.”

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Despite a low total, Rahane tried to put up a brave face for his side and said that it cannot make excuses for another poor batting effort overall. He added that the team would continue fighting in this game with three days still left to play.

“They used the conditions really well. I thought the wicket, because of the weather we cannot control. The first half, when the game was on and off, it was difficult for batting team to switch on and off. But, when you play at the highest level, no excuses. I would like to give credit to English bowling team — Anderson, Stuart Broad and others — they bowled really well as a unit."

“You cannot be too harsh on yourself as an individual and team when you get conditions like this. You have to back yourself as a player and team. I felt we were right there skill wise. There is still a long way to go in this match. We have to bowl well, and our bowling unit is doing well. If weather permits, I am sure our bowlers will bowl in the right areas well. Cricket is a funny game, we still have to back ourselves and get positive mindset back,” he said.

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Asked if the Indian lineup is too dependent on Kohli, Rahane said, “I don’t think there is anything wrong. Just because you don’t get any runs or any start, that does not mean your methods are wrong. It is a five-match series and it is a long way to go."

“It is important that you back yourself in English conditions and trust your methods. I think still you need luck in these conditions. But, there are no complaints at all, we have to bowl and field well.”

India also lacks a third full-time pacer. Instead, it has opted for two spinners, with Kuldeep Yadav included ahead of Umesh Yadav. The vice-captain said that in drier conditions, Kuldeep could wreak havoc.

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