‘This innings was really special and the partnership too’
‘I take credit for the way I handled things yesterday when they were bowling short and I rate this 100 up there’
Ajinkya Rahane termed his knock of 188 as a ‘special one’ which will be etched in his memory for a long time to come.
Rahane, who added 365 runs with skipper Virat Kohli, is happy that he was able to play the short ball well even after struggling during the first session.
"This innings was really special and the partnership too (with captain Virat Kohli). We were 100 for 3 and from there getting 365 is really special," said Rahane, whose surpassed his highest Test score of 147 against Australia at Sydney in January of 2015.
Rahane admitted that humidity did play a part during the two days.
"It was hot out there today. I was struggling yesterday against the short ball and Virat told me to take my time. Today, I wanted to dominate after getting the hundred. This partnership will stay in memory for a long time," an elated Rahane said.
"I take credit for the way I handled things yesterday when they were bowling short and I rate this 100 up there," said the soft-spoken Mumbaikar.
He said that yesterday the fourth wicket pair talked mainly about cricket in the middle but today they wanted to have fun with it being hot in the middle.
"We were talking about partnership yesterday but today it was hot and humid. We did not discuss too much about cricket. We wanted to have fun. The partnership was very crucial and we had decided to attack after getting our hundreds. We wanted their fast bowlers to bowl so that we could attack.
"In this innings, I struggled but it's important to enjoy and tackle it which is what counts. As a batsman it's important to face the next ball calmly after being beaten. This showed me what Test cricket is all about. I needed 200 to 230 balls to reach my 100."
"Today I was really happy they were bowling short balls as I knew they will give me runs. Yesterday, I struggled but today it was different. Once I got my hundred with Jeetan Patel and Santner came on to bowl, I wanted to play my normal cricket shots.
"Virat came up to me and told me yesterday not to worry even though I was struggling. He was bating so well and fluently. He said it does not matter whether you are getting hit. Tomorrow if you are there you will dominate."
He had initial problems against short-pitched deliveries but Rahane said that he has no shame in admitting it.
"My approach was good. I struggled but it's no shame to struggle. How you overcome it is important," he added.
Rahane said the aim of the Indian team was to bat on for long and tire the New Zealanders out.
"We knew spots were being created for our bowlers. It was important to keep the New Zealand team on the field for long as they would be tired. Tomorrow will be crucial. The wicket is slightly better for batting and we need to be patient. But we expect the wicket to become slower."
He also said he had prepared for the series by playing on slow wickets in Mumbai.
"Hard work is part of my routine. Preparations are always important for me. I practised in Mumbai for 5-6 days. I practised on slow wickets as in India they are slow and spin friendly and each track is different. Here for example some balls came slow and some fast."
He said it was important to take things match by match. "This will give us confidence but it's a long season ahead. It's important to play series by series and match by match. It will be important to play as a team.We are No 1 (in ranking) at the moment and it's important to play consistent cricket."