COLOMBO: India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Friday said he was focused on dominating the bowlers after playing a masterful knock of 132 runs during the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club here.
Rahane's patient first innings knock came off 222 balls. His innings was laced with 14 boundaries. The 29-year-old put together a 217-run stand with one-down batsman Cheteshwara Pujara (133) to help India reach a mammoth 622/9 when skipper Virat Kohli decided to declare.
"This was one of my best innings against spinners. My focus was to dominate. Going in to bat, I knew a little bit how the wicket was behaving, how much bounce it had and whether it suits my game or not. The communication between Pujara and me was that we hardly played any maiden overs. So, we put pressure back on them. As the match goes on, it will be a more difficult wicket to bat on," Rahane told reporters.
"When we played last time here against Sri lanka, especially after Galle Test match, we decided that using footwork against Herath was very important. So, throughout against him and their other spinners we wanted to use our footwork so we could get more runs on the backfoot," he added.
Rahane confessed bringing up a double-century stand with Pujara was a part of the team stratergy.
"It was a spin-friendly wicket and we wanted to get a good partnership. I was talking to Virat in the dressing room before lunch (yesterday) that if we get a 150-200 partnership, they will be on the backfoot and that's what actually happened, me and Pujara got that partnership," Rahane explained.
The Indian vice-captain also explained how the wicket was behaving on the second day and asserted that the turf was not batsman friendly.
"Especially on this kind of wicket, it is very slow and dry, so we knew that if we use our footwork we would get more runs. Bounce is quite variable. Some balls are bouncing and a few balls are keeping low. We knew that if they play sweep shot, it is good for us, we have the chance to get wickets," Rahane said.
"But it's not easy for batsmen playing on this wicket. Tomorrow will be key to our bowlers to bowl in right areas for long periods of time," he added.
Rahane, who scored his ninth Test century nine months after scoring his last ton, which came against New Zealand in 2016, said he was confident about performing well before the start of the current series.
"It was an important hundred but I was confident. Even throughout that time not getting a hundred for 9-10 Tests, I was confident about myself. I knew that if I get in, I will get a big one. It was all about thinking positively even throughout that period," the Mumbai batsman said.
"Coming to Sri Lanka, I was batting well in West Indies as well I so wanted to carry that form forward."
Rahne said, "I decided if I play positively, I will convert it to a big one. I was visualising even in dressing room and also in my hotel room, just thinking about what are the good shots on this wicket and how I am going to dominate their spinners."