Kolkata: Batting was a challenge on an atypical Eden Garden wicket said Ajinkya Rahane but also conceded that he and Cheteshwar Pujara were guilty of not making their partnership big enough.
Rahane scored 77 while Pujara put on board 87, his third consecutive Test half-century as India ended the day one at 239 for seven. The two batsmen men raised a crucial 141-run stand for the third fourth wicket when India were struggling at 46 for three.
“It was not a typical Kolkata wicket. There was something in the wicket. It’s two-paced. It was tough very humid in the second session. It was not a good day for us. We felt wicket will be very good. Generally it’s flat and good for batting. It was there something for fast bowlers,” Rahane said at the press conference.
“We had a few soft dismissals but partnership between me and Pujara was crucial. Me and Pujara will take the blame as we both were set. It was our responsibility to carry the partnership forward.
“A batsman just needs one ball to get out. But if we could have scored a century (each), our position would have been different. I am not blaming anyone else. Maybe it was our responsibility,” he said.
Terming it a disappointing day with India ending day one at 239 for seven, Rahane said: “You don’t think about scoring a hundred. You play according to the situation. Maybe we lost our concentration. We lost two extra wickets. Five wickets would have been ideal.”
Having held their fort without losing any wicket in the second session, India lost four post-tea and Rahane said they got out trying to score quicker.
“Defence is always important on a turning track. No one will get you out if your defence is solid, that’s why we batted so strongly in the post-lunch session. But in third session we felt this is the only opportunity where we can score freely as the ball was old and the bowlers were all tired.
“We tried to step up our run-rate and played with a lot of intent, not necessarily to score just boundaries. We tried to disturb their line and length. It was easy to play the spinners on the backfoot.”
However, all is not yet lost and Rahane believes if Wriddhiman Saha (14) and Ravindra Jadeja (zero) could take the score past 325 it would be challenging.
“Jadeja and Saha are batting. If they get to 325 or 350 tomorrow, it will be a good total on the first innings here.”
Rahane further picked comeback man Jeetan Patel as the best among the lot in the Kiwis attack.
Making a comeback as Mark Craig’s replacement, Patel was flown in from England where he was playing County cricket.
“Jeetan Patel bowled consistently and was quicker in the air. However, fast bowlers Matt Henry and Neil Wagner also bowled well and did not give away easy runs. The credit goes to them as well. It was hot and humid there. They bowled consistently. Patel is good in their line-up.”
“We have to bowl really well here. It’s not easy for the batsmen. We have to bowl tight line and lengths.”
About 15000 fans came to watch the match on day one. Asked about it, Rahane said it is tough for people to sit through the day in such heat and humidity.
“It’s very tough and credit should be given to the ones who turned up. If there’s shade and good facilities available people will turn up. It will be good for cricket, the more support we get.