India were bowled out for only 107 runs by England in the first innings of the rain-curtailed second Test at Lord’s but vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“You never know, the match can still be interesting if we get them out early and bat well in the second innings,” Rahane said after the second day’s play on Friday.
“We need to believe. Belief is important. There’s a long way to go in this match. You never know, the series can still be 1-1 at the end of this match.”
After the entire first day was lost to rain, further wet conditions forced a delayed start with England captain Joe Root eventually winning the toss and putting India into bat.
Root was clearly hoping that the lingering damp and overcast conditions would benefit Anderson and the 36-year-old took full advantage with some outstanding swing bowling.
It was the sixth time that Anderson has produced a five wicket haul (5/20) at Lord’s and he now has 99 Test wickets at the famous London venue.
The inept technique coupled with fragile temperament of Indian batting was thoroughly exposed as they crumbled to 107 all out against a top quality England seam attack on a rain-hit second day.
“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.
Fellow pacers Chris Woakes (2/19), Stuart Broad (1/37) and Sam Curran (1/26) complemented Anderson but Rahane explained why he is a cut above the rest.
“These were definitely challenging conditions. Anderson did not bowl a short ball. He was just bowling at 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.”
Despite a low total, Rahane tried to put up a brave face for his side and said they 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. 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 mind set back,” he said.
Rahane though is looking forward to the England innings and hoping that the Indain bowlers can dole out similar treatment to the hosts.
“And that is really crucial on this wicket. If you’re bowling that length, you got to bowl consistently, then as a batsman you have to leave the ball, or you’ve got to back your methods consistently.
“If you play three maiden overs, you’ve got to be ready to play another three maiden overs after that. It’s all about patience in these conditions and trusting your methods and backing your ability,” Rahane said.
India were 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.
“It definitely hurts as a teammates, 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 3-4 hours, so definitely as a team you feel really bad,” said Rahane who could contribute just 18 from 44 balls.
“You have to conquer every situation. May be 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 — may be the cut shot or the late cut. So the earlier you learn all that the better it would be for you,” he said.
When 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 one thought if we could bat out today then tomorrow it could be totally different.”
Asked if the Indian line-up 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.”
(With inputs from Agencies)