The mind-games have begun. A lot is at stake in the second Test, beginning, here, on Saturday.
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Ajinkya Rahane comprehends the value of the second Test. He’s a smart man, thinks about his game. And he is clear in his mind that India has to show intent.
Stress on self-belief
At the Basin Reserve the little stroke-maker promised much in the first innings but couldn’t kick on. He is determined not to let another opportunity slip.
Rahane said on Thursday, “You need self-belief as a player and a batsman. You need to show to the bowler ‘I’ve come to counter-attack’.
“That doesn’t mean you need to play lots of shots.”
The Mumbaikar said, “It could be subtle changes like stepping out or a walk down the pitch. If the batsmen can show that intent then it puts doubts in the bowlers’ minds. You can stand outside the crease, inside the crease or before the off-stump, just to make the bowler think.”
Rahane said the Indian batsmen needed to adapt. “On pitches where the ball comes slowly, or has tennis-ball bounce, you have to let the ball come to you.”
He, however, added, “The India-A guys played here and Hanuma [Vihari] was telling us that the wicket was much better. There is good pace and bounce on this wicket. We will have to see and assess the conditions very quickly on the first day and play accordingly.”
Rahane said the New Zealanders bowled very well in the first Test making it hard for the Indians to score. “I thought they bowled really well. Pujara was trying his bit, he was actually looking to score runs, showed intent. But Boult, Southee and all their bowlers did not give away much.”
On India having to choose between R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane said, “Both are quality spinners.”
He expected Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami to bounce back in the Test.