Vikram Rathour on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. India’s batsmen managed to fight off a damp pitch, overcast conditions, and a lethal fast bowling unit on Day 2 of the World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl against New Zealand.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill batted cautiously at the top to give India a solid start in Southampton, but they lost three quick wickets after the opening stand. However, captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane struck an unbeaten 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket to navigate the team to 146/3 at the end of the day’s play on Saturday.
Vikram Rathour: 250 Plus Score Will Be A Reasonable Score In Prevailing Conditions
Virat Kohli is batting on 44 while Ajinkya Rahane remains unbeaten on 29 as India will look to continue to build on the solid foundation laid on Day 2. Vikram Rathour, batting coach on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the WTC final, saying that a first innings score of 250-plus will be a good total keeping the prevailing conditions in mind.
“We would like to score as many runs as possible but 250 plus will be a reasonable score in these conditions,” Rathour said at the day-end press conference.
The batting coach Vikram Rathour lauded openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma for seeing off the new ball in an admirable manner as they played positively to add 62 runs.
Asked if taking stance outside the crease was to counter swing or play more attacking shots, Vikram Rathour said, “Batting is about scoring runs. Rohit and Gill showed a lot of intent and looked to score wherever they can. Hats off to Virat and Rahane for the manner in which they batted but a lot of credit should also be given to the openers.”
New Zealand started poorly as they bowled some poor deliveries and they were punished. Tim Southee had a tough day with the ball as he just could not find the lines and lengths, which he did seem to find, towards the fag end of the day. Kyle Jamieson was the star as he bowled probing lines and lengths and did not give much away. Neil Wagner was also at his best while Trent Boult came back well after Lunch.
India managed to get off to a good start courtesy of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. They put the loose balls away and were looking good as they raised a 50 plus run stand before Rohit Sharma departed. Shubman Gill fell soon after and Cheteshwar Pujara was soon dismissed after Lunch. Since then Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have looked solid and have managed to stay unbeaten till Stumps on Day 2.
Vikram Rathour: New Zealand Pacers Hit Good Areas During The 2nd Session
The former India opener feels that once the Dukes’ ball got a tad older, it started swinging more, and hence scoring runs became a bit difficult than what it was when the openers were batting.
“I think when the ball got a bit older, it started swinging more. Also, the New Zealand pacers hit good areas during the second session,” he said.
Vikram Rathour also brushed aside assertions that Cheteshwar Pujara is facing some technical problems as he has now been hit at least four times on the helmet in recent Test matches.
“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. Till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team. Today also, he played 50 oddballs. He just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” Vikram Rathour said.
India’s drought of first wicket’s 60-plus stand in England in more than 10 years ended. India lost their first wicket for 62 runs on board in 20.1 overs as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 34 off 68. Kyle Jamieson has caused uncertainty by going wide on the crease, and the outswing takes the edge for a lovely low catch at third slip by Tim Southee.
Neil Wagner swung the first ball back into Shubman Gill, and two balls later he bowled the same length, making him push at the ball, which held its line this time and took the edge as India lost their second wicket on 63 in 24.3 overs with Shubman Gill being dismissed after scoring 28 off 64.