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I wanted to carry on batting - Lokesh Rahul

Lokesh Rahul celebrating his century against Sri Lanka on day one of the second Test in Colombo.
Lokesh Rahul celebrating his century against Sri Lanka on day one of the second Test in Colombo.
©REUTERS / Action Images

India’s opening batsman Lokesh Rahul regretted being unable to convert his century into a big knock on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday.

After having completed his second Test century in style, Rahul perished with his score on 108 – a dismissal that was followed by two more wickets as the day ended on an even note for both teams.

While he admits having lost his composure after reaching the coveted landmark, Rahul sounded determined to correct the flaw in his next opportunity. 

“I felt I should have done a lot better and I am feeling a little disappointed,” said Rahul.

“Generally after tea to end of the day is the time when you get more runs when you are set.

“And I felt I should have been there and could have got more runs for my team.

“But again it is a big learning for me and I will go back and work on a few things, and hopefully will not do the mistakes again.”

Despite having been dismissed to his favorite pull shot, Rahul insisted that he will not be cutting down on the stroke that has fetched him runs in the past.

However, the Karnataka batsman was honest in confessing that he had to improve on finding the right lengths to execute the stroke.

“It is very disappointing that the shot you love to play the most gets you out a lot.

“For me it’s a good learning.

“When I am playing international cricket, playing different speeds and bowlers who are taller and hitting the deck harder, it’s not like first-class cricket.

“So it’s something that I have to work on and discipline myself.

“It’s my favourite shot and I will not stop playing the shot, so I will discipline myself and get to know what is the right line and length to pull.”

Twin failures at Galle had put Rahul in a spot of bother and the youngster acknowledged the importance of his century, which was the backbone of India’s score of 319 for six on the first day.

Having lost his opening partner Murali Vijay and then number three batsman Ajinkya Rahane in no time, Rahul held his nerves to play a significant innings in the company of his skipper Virat Kohli.

“I did not get runs in the first Test (in Galle).

“So to come here and play like the way I did was very satisfying for me individually.”

Rahul credited Kohli’s aggressive mindset as a positive influence on him as the pair put on a fine 164-run stand to repair the early loss of wickets.

Known to be a solid batsman with a fine temperament, Rahul seemed happy that his tactic to be positive had paid off.

“I played a couple matches for India A and in Bangalore before coming here, so I was hitting the ball well.
“So I came here with a very clear mind with a very positive attitude and get runs.

“We lost a couple early wickets, and then Virat came and told me to stay positive.

“And we batted really well, saw through the first session and we were still getting runs.

“We were still cautious and it was a very confident partnership.

“That’s the mindset I went in with, to look positive and get runs. I am happy it worked for me today.”

While Rahul departed to a rash stroke, Kohli and Rohit Sharma were also guilty of throwing away opportunities to play a longer innings.

The trio’s inability to bat on meant that India failed to capitalize on a good batting pitch with Rohit’s dismissal at the stroke of stumps making it a even day for both teams.

Reflecting on the day’s play, Rahul admits that India had frittered away a chance to stamp their authority over the Lankans.

“You do feel like that you could have done a lot better and the team demands a lot more from you.

“Especially for me as an opening batsman, firstly it is my responsibility to lay a good foundation in the first session and make sure to see through the new ball so it does not cost us a lot of wickets.

“But we are all very young and looking to learn and get better in Test cricket.

“This is the biggest learning curve compared to the last Test.

“The things that we spoke about and the things we worked on, we came out here and executed them well, so we are happy with that.”

Rahul’s good form has now added spice to the opening combination with both Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan also among the runs in the recent past.

While Vijay’s unavailability gave him the opportunity at Galle, Rahul was benefited by Dhawan’s absence in Colombo with the left-hander ruled out of the series due to injury.

When Dhawan recovers, India will be in a dilemma with all three opening batsman fit and in form – something that Rahul feels is a massive boost for the team’s confidence.

“From the team’s point of view, it is a great place to be in.

“All your openers are getting runs and with every given opportunity, all of us are making the best use of it.

“Even in Bangladesh, you saw Shikhar and Vijay bat really positively, and they set the tone for the Test match.

“If not for the rain, maybe we would have won the Test match because they got runs at a very good clip.”

Although the three of them are competing for the two opening slots, Rahul reveals that the trio shared an impeccable camaraderie among themselves.

With him being the inexperienced player among the three, Rahul stated that he was enjoying the guidance from his two fellow opening batsmen.

“When it comes to the three of us, we are enjoying each other’s success.

“We are spending a lot of time together at the nets, talking to each other, trying to give each other a lot of inputs and talk about the bowlers.

“They have played Sri Lankan bowlers, they were there telling what their bowlers do and what their skill is.

“So, I enjoy being there and being a part of the team.”

Rahul had notched up his maiden Test century earlier this year against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

© Cricket World 2015