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IND V ENG 2021: Knew the pitch would turn from Day 1: Ajinkya Rahane 

Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has admitted that the hosts were aware that the surface at Chepauk for the second Test against England would start turning from the first day itself.

Following India’s 227-run defeat in the first Test in Chennai, there were speculations that the pitch for the second Test at the same venue would be a rank turner.

India won the toss and batted first, reaching 300-6 at stumps, thanks to a belligerent 161 from Rohit Sharma and a well-compiled 68 from Ajinkya Rahane.

Speaking at the end of the first day’s play, Ajinkya Rahane described the conditions as ‘something to be expected’ in India, when he said:

“I thought it was proper Indian conditions, and we knew it (the pitch) would turn from day one.”

On what the team’s thinking was after winning the toss and batting first, Ajinkya Rahane said that it was all about building partnerships.

“We were talking about partnerships – Rohit and Pujara, and then Rohit and myself. We were discussing intent – positive intent on this wicket. What happened in the first game was (in the) past,” observed Ajinkya Rahane.

You can’t be too defensive on this wicket: Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane observed that the wicket is a tricky one to bat on due to the amount of turn it offered on Day 1. Hence, defensive play on this surface could be fraught with risk. Elaborating further on the same, the vice-captain also praised Rohit Sharma’s hundred, saying:

“You can’t be too defensive on this wicket, and need to be one step ahead of the opposition. We discussed in our batting meeting on what shots to play, and we had to make them change the game-plan. And that’s what Rohit did (playing sweeps). 150-plus on this wicket is really good. I enjoyed the cover-drive against Moeen Ali against the spin.”

While Ajinkya Rahane (67) and Rohit Sharma (161) added 162 runs for the fourth wicket, England fought back well in the last session. The visitors dismiss both batsmen and Ravichandran Ashwin (13) as well, but India ended the day on the ascendancy.

On the plan for Day 2, the Indian vice-captain said that one more decent partnership could see the hosts take control of the game, saying:

“Add another 50-60 runs from here. One more partnership from Rishabh and Axar…we’re in the game. When they were adjusting the pace and bowling quicker through the air, it was difficult.”

At stumps on Day 1 of the second Test in Chennai, Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on 33, while debutant Axar Patel was giving his fellow left-hander company on 5.

Published 13 Feb 2021, 18:19 IST

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