Rahane: Footwork key in dominating Sri Lanka spinners

The middle-order batsman, who scored his ninth Test century on Thursday, elaborated on his batting mindset on the spin-friendly track at the SSC.

Ajinkya Rahane... “On this kind of wicket which is slow and dry, we knew that if we use our feet we will get more runs.”   -  AP

Ajinkya Rahane emphasised that a positive frame of mind and fine footwork helped Indian batsmen counter Sri Lankan spinners at Galle and here. Rahane, whose ninth Test hundred strengthened India’s first innings in the second Test, spoke to the media on Friday.

Excerpts

The Herath challenge

When we last played against Sri Lanka (in 2015), especially after the Galle Test, we decided that using footwork against him was very important. In the first Test, Shikhar (Dhawan) batted really well. Throughout against (Rangana) Herath and other spinners we wanted to use our feet. On this kind of wicket which is slow and dry, we knew that if we use our feet we will get more runs. We knew by using our footwork, we would get more runs on the front as well as the back-foot.

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Walking in at 133 for 3

My mind was completely blank. I wanted to take my time initially but later on, we thought if we dominate, we could change the momentum. Here the challenge was different, it was a spin-friendly wicket and we knew that if we get a good partnership they will be on the back-foot. That’s what actually happened once (Cheteshwar) Pujara and I got that partnership.

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Visualisation

Its all about the mindset. We knew that Sri Lanka will give us a spin-track. I was visualising about the good shots on this wicket and how I am going to dominate the spinners. Unfortunately (Nuwan) Pradeep was not bowling so we knew that they had four spinners and we have to dominate them.

Earlier barren phase

Even during that time when I didn’t get a hundred for nine to 10 Tests, I was confident. I knew that if I get in I will get a big one. It was all about being positive. Here I decided that if I play positively, I will convert it into a big one.